Philadelphia, PA – Chase Utley smoked the go-ahead two-run home run in the eighth inning and Roy Halladay spun eight outstanding innings on the mound, as the Philadelphia Phillies edged the St. Louis Cardinals, 3-1, in the opener of a three-game series at Citizens Bank Park.
Utley's long ball was his 196th as a Phillie, which moved him past Bobby Abreu and into ninth place on the team's all-time list. Domonic Brown ripped an RBI single and Kevin Frandsen added two hits for the Phillies, who have won four of their last six games.
Halladay (6-6) allowed one run on two hits to go with eight strikeouts and no walks. He retired the final 12 batters he faced. Jonathan Papelbon made it interesting in the ninth, but nailed down his 25th save of the season.
"This is the best he's pitched since he came back (from the disabled list)," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "His velocity was good and his arm is getting stronger."
Carlos Beltran belted a home run and Barret Browning (0-1) took the loss after allowing Utley's homer. Starter Kyle Lohse battled Halladay pitch for pitch as he lasted seven innings and yielded one run on four hits with seven strikeouts and two walks. The defending World Series champs have dropped three of their last four games.
In the eighth, Jimmy Rollins led off the frame with a single and moved to second on a balk. Utley got a spinning breaking ball up from Browning and smacked it into the Phillies bullpen.
Papelbon allowed a double to Allen Craig and a base hit to Beltran in the ninth to put runners on the corners with two outs, but Beltran was fooled by a Papelbon pickoff move and was thrown out at second to end the game.
"I got a little anxious. He (Papelbon) picked up his (right) leg to go (to third) and picked me off," Beltran said. There's no guarantee we would have won the game, but you can't end a game like that."
Earlier, the Cards grabbed the early lead in the second inning when Beltran turned on a fastball and drove it over the wall in right. But the Phils got the run back in the bottom of the frame when Ryan Howard ripped a double down the line in right and coasted home on a single by Brown.
Prior to Friday's game, the Phillies inducted former catcher Mike Lieberthal into the team's Wall of Fame. Lieberthal is the Phillies all-time leader in games caught (1,139), home runs (149), and hits (1,128). He was a two-time Gold Glove winner and an All-Star in 1999...Philadelphia improved to 16-7 against the NL Central this season...Halladay had an 11-inning scoreless streak snapped in the second inning...Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday (0- for-4) is hitless in his last 12 at-bats.