That shouldn't come as much of a surprise to the Pittsburgh Pirates .
Halladay takes the mound for the Philadelphia Phillies looking to continue his dominance of the Pirates as these clubs play the third of four Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park.
After compiling an uncharacteristic 14.73 ERA in losing his first two starts, Halladay (2-2, 6.04 ERA) has posted a 1.80 ERA and limited opponents to a .143 average in recording back-to-back wins. The two-time Cy Young award winner gave up two hits - both solo homers - and went the distance in Friday's rain-shortened 8-2, seven-inning victory over St. Louis.
"Today was as close as I've felt to where I want to be. When I stay within myself and execute the mechanics the way they should be done, I feel good where I'm at," he said.
"I always felt I was going in the right direction. Once I got a chance to pitch deeper in games, do more bullpens, I felt I was able to take some of that over into the game."
Halladay has to like his chances of keeping things going versus Pittsburgh (11-9). The right-hander, who's won three consecutive starts in the series, has gone 4-1 over six career matchups against the Pirates while compiling a 0.98 ERA - his lowest mark against any opponent.
Halladay, though, could find himself in a pitchers' duel with Wandy Rodriguez (2-0, 0.56). Scratched from his previous start due to a strained hamstring, Rodriguez faced the minimum while throwing seven innings of one-hit ball Friday in a 6-0 win over Atlanta.
"When you see a guy twirling like he did today, there's not any team that's going to put up much against him," manager Clint Hurdle said. "It wasn't just the strikes but the location of the strikes. It was like he was throwing darts.
"I don't know if we can afford to throw him every 11th day, but that was pretty special."
The left-hander is 2-2 with a 4.70 ERA against the Phillies (9-12).
The Pirates opened 1-5 but have since won 10 of 14, including four of their last five while allowing six total runs.
Pittsburgh catcher Russell Martin extended his hitting streak to eight games with a single Tuesday. He's batting .444 with two homers and six runs scored over that stretch.
McCutchen, though, hasn't been very locked in of late. He's hitless in eight at-bats in the series and is batting .120 in his last seven road games. McCutchen is a career .193 hitter in Philadelphia.
The Phillies, who went 26 for 62 (.419) with runners in scoring position over their first eight home games, have since gone 5 for 34 (.147), including Tuesday's 0-for-5 effort.
"I think they're trying, maybe a little bit too hard," manager Charlie Manuel said. "But you have to get it done. ... We have to improve our game."
Cleanup hitter Ryan Howard left two runners on base Tuesday, and has one RBI in his last 11 games. He is 4 for 12 with a homer lifetime against Rodriguez.
|April 09, 2013||Wandy Rodriguez||Day-to-Day||Left game - left leg strain|
|March 26, 2013||Brandon Inge||15-Day DL||Right scapula soreness|
|March 26, 2013||Brandon Inge||15-Day DL||Right scapula soreness|
|March 22, 2013||Francisco Liriano||15-Day DL||Fractured right forearm|
|March 22, 2013||Jeff Karstens||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
|March 22, 2013||Charlie Morton||15-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
|April 18, 2013||John Lannan||15-Day DL||Strained left quadriceps tendon|
|March 22, 2013||Delmon Young||15-Day DL||Recovery from right ankle surgery|
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Wandy Rodriguez didn't have his best stuff so the hitters bailed him out.
Pinch hitter Brandon Inge hit a tiebreaking RBI single in the eighth inning and the Pittsburgh Pirates rallied to beat the Philadelphia Phillies 5-3 Wednesday night.
Roy Halladay pitched six innings of one-hit ball and Chase Utley and Ryan Howard hit upper-deck solo homers off Rodriguez, but Mike Adams (1-2) couldn't protect an eighth-inning lead.
Pedro Alvarez hit a solo homer off Antonio Bastardo in the seventh and his RBI single in the fourth was the only hit off Halladay.
Rodriguez remained unbeaten over 11 starts since Aug. 29, 2012. The left-hander was nearly untouchable in his first three starts, allowing just one earned run and five hits in 16 innings. He allowed three runs and nine hits in 5 2-3 innings and got a no-decision.
"He wasn't as sharp as the last two times," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "The cold weather was gone and the ball was traveling well. He gave us what we needed."
Halladay struck out eight and walked two in his third consecutive strong start after two awful ones.
Vin Mazzaro (1-0) retired the four batters he faced to earn the win. Mark Melancon worked the eighth and Jason Grilli finished for his ninth save in nine tries.
Down 3-2, the Pirates came back against Adams in the eighth.
Pinch hitter Jose Tabata walked to start the inning and Starling Marte reached on an infield single. Travis Snider failed to get a bunt down, but then lined a tying RBI single. Andrew McCutchen walked to load the bases.
Jeremy Horst replaced Adams and allowed an RBI single to Inge that put the Pirates up 4-3. Horst then retired Neil Walker on a home-to-first double-play grounder to first baseman Howard.
"I'll do whatever they want me to do," Inge said.
Marte hit a bloop triple off Utley's glove in shallow right to make it 5-3 in the ninth.
"We try to play until the end no matter the score," Alvarez said. "That's a very good team, so it was a big win, huge really."
After Jimmy Rollins was thrown out by McCutchen trying to stretch a hit into a double in the first, Utley drove a 1-0 pitch into the second deck in right field for the Phillies' first homer off a lefty this season.
Utley batted second for the first time this year as manager Charlie Manuel mixed up his lineup after a 2-0 loss. Michael Young moved into Utley's No. 3 spot.
Halladay got into two-out trouble in the fourth after walking Garrett Jones and hitting Walker with a pitch. Alvarez, just 9 for 61 to that point, then singled in a run.
Howard drove an 0-2 pitch several rows deep into the second deck in right field to give the Phillies a 2-1 lead in the fourth. The 435-foot blast was only Howard's second homer.
Rodriguez retired the first two batters in the sixth before Ben Revere reached on an infield single. Humberto Quintero followed with a single and pinch-hitter Kevin Frandsen 's RBI single made it 3-1.
The Phillies squandered several opportunities.
They had runners on second and third with one out in the fourth, but Revere popped out. After an intentional walk, Halladay struck out.
It was first and third with no outs in the fifth after Rollins led off with a double and Utley put down a perfect drag bunt. But Young hit into a second-to-home double play because Rollins initially held up on a sharp bouncer to left and then broke for the plate.
"We had a lot of opportunities to score," Utley said. "You're not going to capitalize on every one, but it's time to start."
Halladay, coming off an injury-plagued, subpar season, raised concerns when he struggled this spring and then allowed 12 runs and 12 hits in 7 1-3 innings in his first two starts. But two-time Cy Young Award winner appears to be back to his old form. He has a 1.71 ERA in his last three starts.
NOTES: Young was 0 for 4 to snap his 14-game hitting streak. ... Halladay is 4-1 with a 1.04 ERA in seven career starts against Pittsburgh. ... Phillies OF Delmon Young will continue his rehab assignment at Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Thursday. Young, who had ankle surgery, is playing right field after being a designated hitter for Detroit last year. ... Phillies C Carlos Ruiz will play for Double-A Reading on Friday and Saturday before joining the team in New York on Sunday when he's eligible to be activated following a 25-game suspension. ... Philadelphia's Cliff Lee (2-1, 2.83 ERA) faces James McDonald (2-2, 4.12) when the teams wrap up the four-game series on Thursday afternoon.