Before Saturday’s game, Roy Halladay downplayed his return to Toronto as just another road game. Of course, those words are nothing but the clichés that an athlete generally gives before facing their former ballclub. The reality is that games against a former team mean everything to a player, and the 2010 Cy-Young Award winner is no exception to the rule.
Halladay responded to returning to his former team’s home stadium by pitching his second consecutive complete game, giving a depleted bullpen a valuable day off and earning his 11th victory of the season. He gave up three runs on eight hits, struck out eight and walked one. He might have had a better line for the afternoon if not for a throwing error in the fifth inning by Chase Utley, which helped set up a two-run inning for the Blue Jays. It took the righthander only 110 pitches to finish off his former team in a 5-3 victory.
Halladay got plenty of support from his offense. Ryan Howard gave the team an early lead with an RBI single in the first inning. Jimmy Rollins drove in a run with a ground-rule double in the fifth inning. Utley would redeem himself from his throwing error in the in seventh inning by hitting a two-run homerun off of Toronto’s Luis Perez to give the Phillies the lead. Shane Victorino added an insurance run in the ninth inning with an RBI single.
The offense on Saturday was exactly what Phillies needed it to be on a regular basis. They don’t need to be overpowering in every game, but they need to be counted on to deliver timely hitting. Between three and five runs a game is enough to win more often than not behind their pitching staff.
The Phillies have already earned two victories in Toronto, and have a chance to complete the sweep on Sunday behind the pitching of Cliff Lee.