Halladay lets one get away from him
Lead, win evaporate on Bruce's homer as Phils drop set
CINCINNATI -- Most of the Phillies had emptied their lockers, packed their bags and headed to the bus before Roy Halladay emerged from a back room in the visitors' clubhouse on Wednesday at Great American Ball Park.
He did not look happy.
Three hits, but particularly one pitch, stuck in the back of his mind following a 4-3 loss to the Cincinnati Reds. He allowed a solo home run to Joey Votto in the sixth inning to cut the Phillies' lead to two. He allowed a leadoff single in the eighth inning to Jonny Gomes and a two-run home run to Jay Bruce to give the Reds the comeback victory, costing the Phillies the series.
Halladay is frustrated after every loss, but this one gnawed at him.
"We were winning until the eighth," he said.
The pitch to Bruce, a cutter over the heart of the plate, upset him.
"It cost us the game," Halladay said.
"A little later in the game, he was catching more of the plate," Bruce said. "Earlier in the game, he wasn't giving too much to hit. I was just looking for something over the plate that I could barrel up."
Halladay allowed a career-high 13 hits, but walked none and struck out 10 in eight innings. He has allowed 10 or more hits in three of six starts since his perfect game on May 29. He allowed double-digit hits six times last season and just two times in 2008.
But the hits are no concern to him.
"I've done that for 12 years," Halladay said. "I think if you look at the numbers, they'll tell you that. I'm going to stay aggressive. That's my approach. I really didn't think they were hitting the ball all that hard up to that point -- one down first, a couple rollers through the infield, balls short of the outfielders. I really didn't feel like balls were getting hit hard everywhere. It was the two that cost me."
Halladay has a 2.42 ERA this season, which ranks seventh in the National League, but he's 9-7. He went 2-4 with a 3.27 ERA in June. He got just 19 runs of support in those six starts, and nine of those runs came on Friday against Toronto.
The Phillies just can't seem to score with Halladay on the mound. They had runners on first and second and nobody out in the first inning, but Jimmy Rollins struck out, Ryan Howard grounded out and Jayson Werth struck out to end the inning.
The Phillies capitalized in the fourth inning against Reds right-hander Aaron Harang. The Phillies had runners on first and second with two outs when catcher Dane Sardinha, who acknowledged he was nervous catching Halladay for the first time, hit a three-run home run to left field to give the Phillies a 3-0 lead.
"Any hit I get means a lot to me at this stage of my career," said the 30-year-old journeyman catcher who hit his first career homer just last week against Cleveland.
The Phillies mustered no more offense, but loved their chances with Halladay on the mound.
Halladay carried a 3-1 lead into the seventh. Ramon Hernandez hit a leadoff single to center, and Brandon Phillips followed two batters later with a fly ball to right field. Werth pursued, but the ball hit his glove and dropped as he had drifted under it. Orlando Cabrera followed with a single to score Hernandez to make it 3-2.
It turned out to be a big play.
"It was one of those deals where I ran a long way for it, right by the wall. I think the wind took it further than I thought it would go," Werth said. "It kind of ran away from me at the end. Maybe I try it again, maybe I catch it. I don't know. I thought I did all I could."
Halladay got out of the inning without allowing any more runs, setting him up for the eighth.
"That's his game," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.
It was. Halladay normally wins it, but this time, he did not. It finished a frustrating month for him, and he does not get a chance to make up for it until Monday against the Atlanta Braves at Citizens Bank Park.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.