This was a Cardinals team that entered action leading the National League with 551 runs. In his previous start, Halladay pitched seven innings of shutout ball in a 3-0 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks, a team that entered Friday fourth in the league with 511 runs.
"He was mixing his pitches and throwing strikes with all his pitches," Utley said. "The Cardinals have a very good offensive team, and for him to pitch like that against those guys tells you something."
His teammates saw a familiar positive sign.
This was Halladay's longest outing since he came off the disabled list July 17 after missing 42 games with a shoulder injury. Halladay allowed just two hits and one earned run while striking out eight and walking none. He threw 99 pitches, 72 for strikes.
In his last two outings covering 15 innings, Halladay has allowed one earned run and five hits.
"Each time I have felt a little better out there," Halladay said.
Part of Halladay's recent success has been his ability to change.
"I felt I had to make adjustments, do different things," he said. "I don't try to do what I used to do, I try to do what I need to do to be successful."
His effort has naturally picked up the team.
"With him coming back and pitching healthy, it makes a world of difference," Papelbon said. ". . . I see that certain look on his face, and it is a good feeling."
The one blip for Halladay came courtesy of Beltran, who continued his strong first season with St. Louis by opening the second inning with a solo blast to right field off an 88-m.p.h. cutter. It was the 28th home run this season for Beltran, among the top offseason free-agent signings in baseball.
That snapped Halladay's scoreless streak of 11 innings, his longest of the season.
The Phillies tied it in the second, when Ryan Howard led off with a double off former Phillie Kyle Lohse and scored on Domonic Brown's single off the glove of second baseman Daniel Descalso.
After that second inning, both pitchers settled down.
Against the righthanded Lohse, manager Charlie Manuel stacked the Phillies lineup with lefties. The first six batters in the order batted left-handed. It didn't seem to matter, because Lohse was matching Halladay's effort.
Lohse (12-2) was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning. In seven innings he allowed just the one run on four hits, striking out seven and walking two.
The Phillies immediately jumped on Lohse's replacement, lefthander Barret Browning. Jimmy Rollins led off the eighth with a single and advanced to second on a balk. Juan Pierre sacrificed Rollins to third before Utley blasted a two-run home run to right, his eighth of the season.
"It was a slider that was pretty much over the middle of the plate,"Utley said. "I got it up in the air."
It was also Utley's 196th career home run, moving him to No. 9 on the all-time Phillies list, past Bobby Abreu.
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