Halladay, Phillies fall to Twins

Posted: June 20, 2010

Pitching for the Toronto Blue Jays last season, Roy Halladay did not suffer his sixth loss until his 24th start on Aug. 19. When he came to the Phillies, many wondered how many games Halladay could possibly win in a new league with a powerful offense to back him.

Sixty-seven games into the 2010 season, Halladay has six losses. The latest came Sunday in a 4-1 defeat to the Minnesota Twins.

In Halladay's six losses, his Phillies teammates have scored a total of nine runs in support.

"For him to have six losses," centerfielder Shane Victorino said, "it shouldn't be that way."

Halladay has the most losses for any starter in baseball with a sub-3.00 ERA. Since pitching a perfect game May 29, Halladay is 1-3.

On Sunday, he wasn't perfect by any means - but certainly good enough to be in line for a win. He allowed four runs (three earned) in eight innings. The Twins had 11 hits, a season-high against Halladay.

"You can win with that kind of pitching," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.

Too many times, that hasn't happened with Halladay on the mound. During the last month, in which the Phillies have gone 11-19, they have wasted more than a few outstanding pitching performances. But when it's Halladay out there and a chance to win is squandered, Victorino said it's worse.

"It stands out more for us," Victorino said. "We've got our best guy on the mound and we can't score behind him."

Incredibly, the Phillies are just 8-7 in games when Halladay starts.

Of his 106 pitches Sunday, the righthander picked out two that changed the game - both hit for home runs by Minnesota. In the fifth, Denard Span hit a 92 m.p.h. fastball out to right. Halladay said it was good pitch. The home run by Justin Morneau in the eighth was on a curveball that Halladay wasn't as pleased with. He left it high.

That makes five home runs allowed by Halladay in his last two starts. In his first 13 starts with the Phillies, he allowed two homers.

On Sunday, those two pitches were enough to beat Halladay. He said the lack of run support does not frustrate him.

"Executing pitches is first and foremost," Halladay said. "Whether we're scoring nine or none, that'll never change. For me, it's important to keep the focus on that."

In his last start against the Yankees, when he was tagged for six runs in six innings, Halladay said he lost that focus at times.

"I think I got a little too caught up in it in New York," he said. "I was trying to be too perfect. It kind of snowballed things. It's important to keep that simple focus and just make pitches. Things will take care of themselves."

Against Twins starter Carl Pavano, the Phillies couldn't take care of anything. The lone run was scored on a Wilson Valdez home run in the fifth. After that, Pavano retired 13 batters in a row before Ryan Howard singled with two outs in the ninth. Jayson Werth then flied out to left, ending the game.

In the first two games of the series, Minnesota's starting pitchers lasted a total of 31/3 innings and allowed 15 runs. But when Halladay took the mound for the Phillies, the offense dried up.

"What can you do?" Victorino said. "It's funny. We were starting to get kicking and then he goes on the mound and we don't score for him."

The Phillies are 51/2 games back of the Braves for first place. It's the latest in the season they've been this far out since Sept. 14, 2007.

"We have to get going," Manuel said. "We can catch them."

Contact staff writer Matt Gelb at 215-854-2928 or mgelb@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/magelb.

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