Roy Halladay hasn't lost three straight starts in almost two years and is in danger of reaching that dubious distinction tonight against the Atlanta Braves in the second portion of a three-game series.
Halladay last dropped three starts in row from June 10-20, 2010 and enters tonight's contest at Turner Field riding a two-game slide. After winning his first three starts of the 2012 campaign, Halladay has suffered losses to the Padres and Cubs. In Friday's 5-1 setback to Chicago, he allowed a season-high three runs on six hits in seven innings.
The right-hander has pitched at least seven innings in each of his five starts this season and is 3-2 with a 1.95 ERA. Halladay is 2-1 in three road starts this season and owns a 4-1 mark to go along with a 1.78 ERA in seven career games (6 starts) against the Braves.
Philadelphia took last night's opener by a 4-2 score and received another solid outing from Cole Hamels even though he didn't factor in the decision. Hamels was reached for two early runs in six innings and struck out six, while Antonio Bastardo grabbed the win with a scoreless seventh inning. Bastardo got the win after the Phillies plated two in the eighth, as John Mayberry scored on Jonny Venters' wild pitch and Hunter Pence singled home Jimmy Rollins.
"I saw the ball kind of pop up, so I knew it was going to take a great play for [catcher Brian] McCann to get the ball," Mayberry said.
Ty Wigginton hit a two-run single for the Phillies, who have won eight in a row over the Braves and five of seven overall. The Phillies opened a six-game trip against Atlanta and Washington on a strong note, and also pulled within 2 1/2 games of the Nationals for the NL East lead. However, the Braves are just one-half game off the top spot and the New York Mets sit 1 1/2 games back.
McCann homered and Juan Francisco knocked in the other run for the Braves, losers in three of their last four games. Freddie Freeman had a team-best two hits for an Atlanta club that was without Jason Heyward (oblique) and veteran Chipper Jones (knee). Jones could return for Wednesday's game.
Venters was saddled with the loss for giving up two runs in two-thirds of an inning, while starter Brandon Beachy was solid with seven innings of two-run ball.
"I felt good, I just didn't make any pitches when I had to," Venters said.
The Braves are 2-3 on a seven-game homestand and 7-4 as the host. They will hand the ball to Tommy Hanson tonight in hopes of him extending a personal winning streak to three starts. Hanson has won two straight and three of four trips to the hill, including Friday's 6-1 win over Pittsburgh in which he tossed six innings of one-run ball and fanned five.
Hanson, who was coming off a win at Arizona, improved to 3-2 in five starts and lowered his earned run average from 3.38 to 3.00. The righty is 1-1 in two home starts this season and 1-2 with a 2.23 ERA in seven career starts against the rival Phillies.
Atlanta was eliminated from postseason contention last year by the Phillies and went 6-12 in this series in 2011. Philadelphia has won four straight at Turner Field and is 7-7 as the visitor this season.