Halladay, Phillies bow to Reds

CINCINNATI - While the rest of his teammates dressed and passed through the clubhouse to board a bus bound for the Phillies' charter flight to Pittsburgh, Roy Halladay stewed in a back room.

Finally, 50 minutes after Shane Victorino weakly grounded out to second to seal a 4-3 Reds win, Halladay emerged, drenched in sweat from his postgame workout with his right arm heavily wrapped in ice.

He was as frustrated as he has been all season.

Halladay lost his seventh game Wednesday. He allowed a career-high 13 hits in a complete game. But the only things that bothered him were two pitches he made in the eighth inning.

Jonny Gomes led off and singled on a curveball up in the zone. Jay Bruce hit the next pitch, a Halladay cutter that stayed over the middle of the plate, for a two-run home run to put Cincinnati ahead.

"It cost us a game," Halladay said. "Other games you have a chance to come back. At that point in the game, it's pretty costly."

Halladay was terse in his answers, especially when asked about the amount of hits he has given up of late. On Wednesday, Halladay became the first pitcher in four years to pitch a complete game and allow 13 or more hits.

In three of his last six starts, he has allowed double-digit hits. He has done it five times in 2010, compared with six times in all of 2009 and twice in 2008.

Halladay shook off the notion that that's hurting him, especially Wednesday. Why?

"Because they didn't score," Halladay said. "They scored on three hits. We were winning until the eighth, until I gave up the two runs. Those are the ones I'm concerned about."

True. And Halladay has allowed 8.8 hits per nine innings in 2010, which matches his career rate.

Because opposing teams usually go in with a plan of swinging early in the count against Halladay, who is one of the most aggressive pitchers in the majors, he can usually stay in games even if he allows a great deal of hits. He doesn't walk anyone, so the pitch count stays low.

Cincinnati bunched six hits off Halladay in the seventh and eighth innings. The Reds scored in the seventh, aided by a Brandon Phillips double that could have been caught by Jayson Werth in right. The ball carried to the edge of the warning track and glanced off Werth's glove.

"I ran a long way for it," Werth said. "It was right near the wall. I think the wind took it further than I thought it would."

Until the eighth, Halladay managed to stay out of serious trouble even with the hits piling up.

"I really didn't think they were hitting the ball all that hard up to that point," he said.

Joey Votto homered in the sixth off Halladay, but it was a good pitch, a cutter down and in.

The only Phillies runs came on a three-run home run by reserve catcher Dane Sardinha in the fourth. It was only his second career homer, but was the second time in two days a backup catcher hit a three-run shot for the Phils. (Brian Schneider did it on Tuesday.)

The Phillies have failed to provide Halladay with much support. Incredibly, they are only 9-8 in games their ace has started. Halladay has a 2.42 ERA to go along with his seven losses.

Sardinha's home run stood up until Bruce's home run ruined Halladay's day.

"He was good today," Manuel said of Halladay. "Of course, I've seen him better."

Halladay, for one, wasn't satisfied.

"You always expect to pitch out of it," Halladay said. "But if you leave balls over the middle, they're going to cost you a couple."

 


Contact staff writer Matt Gelb

at 215-854-2928 or mgelb@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/magelb.