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PHI@WSH: Doc goes the distance for the win

WASHINGTON -- Charlie Manuel jogged to the mound in the bottom of the ninth inning Wednesday at Nationals Park to get a good look at Roy Halladay.

He wanted to see Halladay's face. He wanted to get a feel for him.

"Well, Roy," Manuel said. "Here I am."

"I got 'em," Halladay replied. "I got 'em."

Halladay carried a shutout into the ninth, but four batters into the inning, Washington had runners on the corners, one out and the tying run on first base. But Manuel liked what he heard from Halladay and stuck with him. Halladay allowed an infield single to Danny Espinosa to make it a one-run game, but he regrouped and struck out Matt Stairs and Ivan Rodriguez on six pitches as the Phillies beat the Nationals, 3-2.

"He was very intense and very determined when he told me [he wanted to stay in]," Manuel said. "If I get up there and I don't like what I see or what I hear, it's a different story. But let me tell you something: He wanted to pitch. I felt like he definitely could continue ... that he had it."

"I felt like I had it," Halladay agreed.

Halladay is 4-0 with a 0.84 ERA in four career starts against the Nationals since he joined the Phillies. The first run the Nationals scored in the ninth snapped a 30-inning scoreless streak for Halladay against Washington, which dated to the first inning of Opening Day last season.

"He was good, not just tonight," Nationals third baseman Jerry Hairston Jr. said. "Every time he takes the mound, he is good. He screws the ball around, cuts it, spots it, sinks it. He has four pitches that he could go to anytime. All of them are plus stuff, so he is good. I can't remember the last time I struck out three times in a game. This game is pretty humbling, and definitely, I was humbled tonight."

Halladay, who threw 123 pitches, is 2-0 with a 1.23 ERA in three starts this season. He had allowed just two hits, walked two and hit a batter through eight innings.

Halladay said he felt he made a couple of bad pitches to Rick Ankiel and Jayson Werth to start the ninth. Ankiel doubled to right-center field and Werth singled to left to put runners at the corners. Halladay struck out Adam LaRoche, but allowed a single to right field to Laynce Nix to score Ankiel and make it 3-1.

"I felt like it was good stuff, just bad location," Halladay said.

Manuel jogged to the mound following Nix's at-bat. He was going to let Halladay finish the game, or at least pitch until the Nationals tied it. If Stairs or Rodriguez had reached base, Manuel would have pulled him for closer Jose Contreras, who was warming up in the bullpen.

"I definitely cost myself early in that inning," Halladay said.

But he won the game, helping the Phillies rebound from a 7-4 loss on Tuesday. Manuel said this week the Phillies should not suffer many extended losing streaks because of the strength of their rotation. That has proven true through 11 games. The Phillies, Yankees and Rockies are the only three teams in baseball not to lose consecutive games. This is the Phillies' longest stretch to open a season without consecutive losses since 1995, when they lost consecutive games for the first time in their 34th and 35th games.

The Phillies scored just enough for Halladay. They took a 1-0 lead in the fourth. Jimmy Rollins reached on an error and Ryan Howard grounded into a fielder's choice, but Rollins wisely noticed as he touched second base that nobody was covering third.

Rollins started to run to third, but he collided with Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond. Rollins was awarded third base, and then scored on Ben Francisco's groundout to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead.

Philly scored two more runs in the fifth to make it 3-0.

It would be just enough.

Before the ninth inning, the scariest moment for Halladay came in the fourth when Espinosa's broken bat nearly struck him in the head. Halladay said he deflected the bat with his glove.

"Not scary, just shocking," Halladay said.

It would have been more shocking -- especially to Manuel -- if Halladay had not completed the job Wednesday. Comments