If the Phillies could figure out a formula to snap out of a season-high losing streak, it would always have to include sending Roy Halladay to the mound. Facing a four-game losing streak and trying to avoid their first sweep at PNC Park since 2002, the Phils sent the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner to the mound Sunday.
Halladay allowed a two-run home run to Neil Walker in the first inning but then shut the Pirates out in the next six innings to help the Phils collect their first victory since Memorial Day, 7-3.
"It takes everybody to do it," Halladay said, deflecting the credit of being a stopper. "I don't feel any different; I just try to go out and make pitches and give us a chance. That's what was frustrating about the first inning."
While walking off the mound after the first inning, Halladay got into a brief discussion with home-plate umpire Angel Hernandez. From afar, it appeared the two were arguing.
Not so, Halladay said.
"I didn't say anything," Halladay said. "I was frustrated after the home run and after the inning was over I yelled a four-letter word to myself and I think he thought it was directed toward him. He came up and said, 'Those pitches weren't strikes.' And I said, 'What pitches?' I really didn't have a chance to explain myself. I think he thought it was directed toward him and took exception to it. But that wasn't the case."
In addition to getting his arm back on track once the second inning started, Halladay also contributed with his bat. He walked in the fifth inning and hit a one-out single to begin the sixth. Halladay ended up scoring later in the inning.
The Phillies would end up breaking out of a team-wide hitting slump, tacking on four runs in their last four at-bats on Sunday. The seven runs they scored Sunday equaled the total of runs they scored during their four-game losing streak.
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- Ryan Howard ended a 0-for-Pittsburgh skid by going 2-for-4 with three RBI in the Phillies' 7-3 win Sunday. Howard, who was 0-for-8 in the first two games of the series, hit a 410-foot sacrifice fly to left-center to help the Phillies salvage a fifth inning that ended with three runners stranded on base. In his last two at-bats, he hit a pair of RBI singles.
"Whatever it takes to get us going is what matters," Howard said of helping snap the team's four-game losing streak. "After today, the last four days don't matter anymore. You want to take today and try to build on that and look forward to tomorrow."
- Jimmy Rollins was out of Sunday's starting lineup with a right knee bruise. Rollins fouled a pitch off his right leg in his first-at bat on Saturday night. Although he remained in the game for two innings -- and hit a double -- Rollins was removed before the bottom of the third inning. Afterward, he said he believed the injury wasn't severe, "but it might be a couple of days," he said.
Rollins offered a "no comment" following Sunday's win, but did comment on his condition via Twitter on Monday: Wassup tweeps. Lil update 4 u. X-rays neg,MRI earlier today. Feeling a lot better & will continue to get treatment on it. Looks good though.
- Brad Lidge was to resume his throwing program this week after a brief setback in his hopeful return from a rotator cuff strain. Lidge threw on the side at the Phillies spring training facilities both Saturday and Sunday after experiencing pain following his most recent extended spring game, on Tuesday. Unfortunately, he had more discomfort during Sunday's outing and has been sent back to Philadelphia for an appointment with Dr. Michael Ciccotti.
Lidge's eventual return to the big leagues remains unknown.
"Uncertainly is the right word," assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said. "We just don't know."