MIAMI — The Philadelphia Phillies are hoping to have a few occasions to pop open champagne bottles in their clubhouse later this season.
On Sunday there was only one and it was delivered to Roy Halladay.
Halladay regained his some of his dominant form Sunday helping the Phillies defeat the Miami Marlins 2-1 Sunday afternoon in front of an announced crowd of 21,412 at Marlins Park.
“It was good and more than anything because I’ve been putting a lot of pressure on myself,” Halladay said. “My plan was to worry about the game and not worry about anything going on internally.”
The win was Halladay’s 200th of his career tying him with Andy Pettitte as the only active pitchers in the majors to reach the milestone. He also became the first Phillies pitcher to reach the mark since Steve Carlton in 1978.
After the game, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said the team presented Halladay with the champagne bottle.
“This means a whole lot to him, but like he said to us, he’d rather have a World Series,” Manuel said. “He didn’t say too much when we gave him the bottle. He just smiled and grinned. The guys are rooting for him to get that big time. He carries a lot of respect on this team.”
Laynce Nix made the celebration possible when he belted a 1-1 pitch from Marlins reliever Jon Rauch into the upper deck in right field for a pinch-hit solo home run in the top of the ninth inning. Nix’s pinch-hit solo home run in the ninth was the seventh RBI so far this season delivered by Phillies pinch-hitters.
“It was really cool for it to be on a positive side in one of (Halladay)’s wins,” Nix said. “He’s pitched great his whole career and worked really hard.”
Halladay (1-2) was coming off a pair of dismal starts to open the 2013 season having allowed 12 earned runs over his previous 7 1/3 innings.
“The first couple of innings were just trying to get into a rhythm,” Halladay said. “I felt really from the third or fourth inning on I was able to get outs quick which has been my biggest problem so far. Mechanically, I feel like I got things straightened out.”
On Sunday, Halladay threw 87 pitches and went eight innings allowing one run on five hits despite striking out only two. He lowered his ERA from 14.73 to 7.43.
“Roy threw strikes today when he had to especially when he got ahead in the count it seemed like he did what he wanted to do,” Manuel said. “He got some really short innings. If you look at some of his previous starts, he’d run his pitch count up and that’s when he started to struggle some. But today he was real good.”
Jonathan Papelbon picked up his third save of the season in three tries despite allowing a leadoff walk in the ninth to Placido Polanco.
The Phillies (6-6) took two of three games against the Marlins, and open a three-game series in Cincinnati starting Monday. The Marlins (2-10) have been held to two runs or fewer in six consecutive games.
“It’s the same old story right now,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. “We can’t keep asking those guys (the pitchers) to do anymore than they’re doing right now.”
Halladay dueled for five innings with Marlins starter Kevin Slowey, who pitched 5 1/3 innings and allowed only one run despite giving up nine hits. Slowey, who has lost 10 consecutive decisions, did not get a decision on Sunday.
“This might have been the best I’ve seen him pitch,” Redmond said. “He needs a win. We need to get this guy a win.”
Michael Young, who was back in the starting lineup Sunday, broke the scoreless stalemate for the Phillies in the top of the sixth. Young lined a hit up the middle that bounced hard of shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria’s glove and into center field. The throw home was a bit wide allowing Ryan Howard to score from second.
Howard had led off the inning with a double on a ball that dropped a foot away from Juan Pierre near the left field line.
The Marlins evened the game at 1 in the bottom of the seventh inning when reserve infielder Chris Valaika, who got the start at second base, hit a sharp grounder past the reach of shortstop Freddy Galvis into left field to score Justin Ruggiano.
But a base-running mistake cost the Marlins a chance to take the lead.
Hechavarria hit a ball that carried deep to center field and appeared to have a chance to get past Phillies center fielder Ben Revere. Catcher Rob Brantly, who walked after Ruggiano’s single, took off on contact. Revere, however, caught the ball and had plenty of time to get the throw to second and double up Brantly to end the inning.
“We make a base-running mistake later in the game and it cost us,” Redmond said. “Right now, if we’re not hitting home runs, we need to keep putting good at-bats together to keep the line moving.”