Los Angeles, CA – Roy Halladay looked sharp in his first start in seven weeks, and Hunter Pence picked the perfect time to bust out of a recent slump as the Phillies won their fourth straight game.
Halladay lasted five innings in his return from the disabled list and Pence, who was 1-for-18 over his previous five contests, grounded the go-ahead two- run single with two outs in the eighth inning in a 3-2 triumph over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee said Halladay, who was out since late May due to a right lat strain, would be limited to around 80 pitches. That's exactly how many the two-time Cy Young Award winner threw, 55 of which were for strikes. Halladay had six strikeouts and didn't walk a batter, while allowing five hits, including four in a row during a two-run second inning for the Dodgers.
"I felt good. Things improved from my rehab starts," Halladay said. "I wanted to go more than five innings. It's a matter of repeating my mechanics, timing and trying to make pitches. I feel like I can contribute and give us a chance."
Chase Utley knocked in the other run for the Phillies, who have won seven in a row at Dodger Stadium. It's also the first time in 39 games this season the Phillies won when trailing after seven innings.
Stephen Fife lasted six innings in his major league debut and gave up four hits and a run while walking three.
"Stephen pitched well. He gave up a run early and then settled in," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "He changed speeds and kept battling. He kept us right there. We just have to regroup, try to make improvements and keep going."
James Loney and Luis Cruz each singled in runs during the second, but the Dodgers suffered their seventh loss in eight games.
After Halladay departed, Michael Schwimer, Jeremy Horst, Kyle Kendrick (3-8) and Antonio Bastardo held down the fort. Jonathan Papelbon retired the side in order in the ninth for his 21st save.
The Phillies were denied of the tying run in the sixth inning when Ryan Howard was thrown out at the plate trying to score on a Pence base hit. Two innings later, Pence connected off Kenley Jansen to push them in front.
Ronald Belisario (3-1) hit by Howard and Carlos Ruiz with pitches, after Utley started the two-out rally with a walk. Jansen was summoned from the bullpen, but Pence grounded a hit to center field to send Utley and pinch-runner John Mayberry to the plate. Ruiz was thrown out at third.
"Jansen throws fastballs basically, but I found a hole," Pence said. "There is no tomorrow. We have to win now. Roy pitched great and gave us a chance to win."
Pence is hitting .409 (9-for-22) with runner in scoring position since June 24.
The Phillies played small ball to manufacture a run in their first at-bat. Jimmy Rollins hit the second pitch of the game down the right field line, and he moved to third on Shane Victorino's sacrifice bunt. Utley then grounded out to first baseman James Loney for a run.
Halladay grounded out to strand a pair of runners in the second, and the Dodgers put together four straight hits to start the bottom half to go in front. Andre Ethier singled and Adam Kennedy doubled, before base hits from Loney and Cruz gave LA the lead.
A.J. Ellis then lined into a double play, and Fife fanned to leave a runner at third.
Great defense by the Dodgers prevented the Phillies from tying the game in the sixth. Howard walked with one out and went to second on a wild pitch. With two outs, Pence singled to center. Howard, who missed the first half of the season while recovering from Achilles surgery, chugged around third, but Matt Kemp threw a one-bounce strike to the plate. Howard's right hand touched home, but Ellis applied the tag to the right shoulder and home plate umpire Wally Bell signaled out.
Fife was recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque before the game. The Dodgers opened a roster spot for the right-hander by placing pitcher Chad Billingsley on the 15-day disabled list with inflammation in his pitching elbow ... Orlando Magic star center Dwight Howard, who is reportedly involved in trade talks with the Lakers, attended the game and received a loud cheer when he was displayed on the videoboard in the seventh inning ... The Phillies opened a spot for Halladay on the roster by sending pitcher Brian Sanches outright to Triple-A Lehigh Valley ... Halladay is four strikeouts of 2,000 for his career.