Happ's gem runs Phils' streak to six
Southpaw shuts down Padres to deliver another sweep
SAN DIEGO -- J.A. Happ threw seven shutout innings, Ryan Howard hit his 16th home run and J.C. Romero returned to action from his 50-game suspension.Add in an outstanding catch by right fielder Greg Dobbs and the Phillies won their sixth straight game and swept their three game series with the San Diego Padres with a 5-1 victory at PETCO Park on Wednesday night. Happ, a 26-year-old rookie left-hander, who improved to 4-0, gave up three singles and a double. He walked two and struck out four and threw 112 pitches in his longest outing of his career. "Happ was aggressive, threw a lot of fastballs and mixed in enough sliders," said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. "He threw mostly a lot of high fastballs and when he gets the ball out of the strike zone and they chase it, the ball is kind of sneaky." "I try to throw a lot of first-pitch strikes and be aggressive," said Happ. "I had to be aggressive to be successful and I mixed it up early in the game and kept them off balance. "I felt strong and hopefully I can keep building. I was glad to go out there for the seventh even after the leadoff hit." Happ was also very happy about the outstanding play by Dobbs, who robbed Padres starter Chris Young (4-4) of a possible bases-clearing double in the second inning. "When he hit it, I thought it might be alright, but when I saw [Dobbs] sprinting, I thought it was probably going to get in there," said Happ. "Dobber really turned the game around and gave me some confidence and made me focus in there more." The Phillies had taken a 2-0 lead in the top of the first on Howard's 407-foot home run to straightaway center field, scoring Shane Victorino, who had doubled off Young with one out. The Padres loaded the bases in the second on singles by Kevin Kouzmanoff and Nick Hundley and a walk to Chris Burke. Young delivered a drive to the right-center gap. "I started running and went right to a spot," said Dobbs. "I was reading the trajectory and the speed and I put my head down and got to a spot to where I thought it might be. I looked back up and I was in the vicinity and made a little correction and made the catch. "Playing the outfield is just part of my bag of tricks," added Dobbs, who also had two hits, including a double. "Over the last two years, I've gotten more time in the outfield and felt more and more comfortable." The Phillies scored a single run in the fourth and two in the seventh. Raul Ibanez and Dobbs had back-to-back singles to open the fourth and Pedro Feliz hit a sacrifice fly to score Ibanez. Jayson Werth, who came on to replace Victorino, who left the game in the sixth with a strained left hip, drove in Jimmy Rollins with a single off Padres reliever Greg Burke in the seventh. Rollins had reached on an infield single and stole second. The Phillies scored their second run in the seventh after an error by Padres left fielder Will Venable. Ibanez got his National League-leading 52nd RBI when he drove in Werth on a fielder's-choice grounder with the bases loaded. All that was left was the first appearance by Romero, who was coming off his 50-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball's policy against performance-enhancing substances. Romero gave up two hits, an unearned run, he walked one and struck out one in 1 1/3 innings. "It was just another day at the office, man," said Romero. "Like I said before, I was just focusing on the game and trying to give my team a chance to win. That's pretty much what I wanted to do. "I felt good being out there, but if you ask me I wasn't very pleased with my outing," Romero said. "Giving up base hits with two strikes, and walking a lefty is no good. "I wasn't pleased with my outing at all, but at least I got the first one out of the way and looking forward to tomorrow," he said. Asked about the Phillies fans behind the dugout cheering him as he walked off the mound with one out in the eighth, Romero said, "That was awesome. The reception I received was overwhelming. I didn't expect to have that many fans here in San Diego. And even the people from San Diego understand a little bit of what's going on here. I didn't hear many boos at all and I was very thankful and blessed and they way they received me."
Sandy Burgin is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.