The Phillies' offense may be struggling at times so far this season, but the club has been able to give Roy Halladay more than enough runs to work with in his past two outings.
Philadelphia hopes for more of the same this evening when Halladay tries to win for the fourth time in as many starts and extend the Phils' epic win streak at Petco Park in the continuation of a four-game series against the San Diego Padres.
Halladay is 3-0 with a 1.17 earned run average on the season, giving up just three runs in his 23 innings. He needed eight scoreless frames to win his season debut on April 5 by a 1-0 score, but the Phillies have been able to secure some runs for him as of late.
The right-hander went seven innings and gave up one run in a 7-1 win over the Marlins on April 11, then scattered two runs over eight frames to beat the Giants 5-2 on Monday. Halladay struck out a season-high six, giving him 14 to just four walks on the year.
"Any time you get a lead like that where a couple pitches aren't going to cost you, it makes a big difference," said Halladay who escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first with just one run allowed.
The 34-year-old former Cy Young winner has won all three of his career starts against the Padres with a 1.90 ERA over that span. That has to have the Phillies confident that they can win their 14th straight game in San Diego and avoid their first loss at Petco Park since Aug. 16, 2008.
That road winning streak over the Padres has helped the Phillies win 12 of 13 and 19 of the past 22 encounters in this series overall.
Philadelphia won its 13th game in a row at San Diego last night in the second contest of this four-game series, rallying for a 4-1 win behind six innings of one-run ball from Cole Hamels.
Hamels allowed six hits and a walk with four strikeouts, while Shane Victorino hit his second homer of the season and Juan Pierre drove in two runs. Jonathan Papelbon picked up his fifth save with a perfect ninth for a Phillies club that had lost four of six before this series.
Philadelphia has played all season without first baseman Ryan Howard and second baseman Chase Utley due to injury and also saw catcher Carlos Ruiz sit out Friday's game with a sore wrist suffered in a collision at home plate in Thursday's opener.
Edinson Volquez suffered the loss by allowing three runs on five hits over six-plus innings. He departed with a 1-0 lead and the bases loaded in the seventh, but reliever Andrew Cashner allowed all three inherited runners to score.
Cameron Maybin scored the Padres' lone run after a triple, one of only two extra-base hits for San Diego, which dropped its fourth straight game and eighth in nine tries after getting shut down by Hamels.
"He seemed to really buckle down when he really needed to make a pitch, and he did," Padres manager Bud Black said of Hamels. "But overall I think our at- bats against him were good, we just couldn't really get a big hit to knock in a couple of runs."
San Diego is 3-12 for the first time since 1994 and hopes that Cory Luebke can record his second victory in a row tonight.
The left-hander made his third start of 2012 on Monday in Colorado and threw seven innings of one-run ball. He worked around six hits and a walk while striking out four in a 7-1 win. Luebke improved to 1-1 with a 3.71 ERA on the season.
"He has a good, live fastball, slider, and a changeup," Black said. "I thought he pitched aggressive in the zone. There were a couple situations where he had to bear down and make some pitches and he did."
Luebke, 27, is 0-1 with a 2.25 ERA in three career appearances against the Phillies, with one of those a start.