ATLANTA — Roy Halladay threw a five-hitter for his first NL shutout — getting a couple of big assists from his defense — and the Philadelphia Phillies blanked the Atlanta Braves 2-0 on Wednesday night.
Halladay (4-0) was acquired in the offseason from Toronto to lead the staff of the two-time defending NL champions, and he's certainly lived up to the hype in his first four starts. Doc has worked 33 innings, allowing only 26 hits and three runs for an ERA of 0.82.
Raul Ibanez and Jayson Werth both hit RBI doubles against Tim Hudson (1-1), but Halladay's latest masterpiece wouldn't have been possible without a pair of brilliant defensive plays.
Center fielder Shane Victorino stole away a likely homer from Troy Glaus with a leaping catch in the second, and second baseman Chase Utley made a diving stop on a shot up the middle to start an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded in the seventh.
The Phillies didn't make the same mistake as the night before, when they pulled Kyle Kendrick after eight scoreless innings with a 3-0 lead. Ryan Madson squandered it away, giving up back-to-back homers to Glaus and Jason Heyward with two outs in the ninth, and Nate McLouth homered off Jose Contreras in the 10th to give Atlanta an improbable 4-3 win.
Halladay went all the way this time for his 16th career shutout, getting another big play from his defense leading off the ninth. First baseman Ryan Howard made a diving stop on a sharp grounder by Chipper Jones, then flipped backhanded to Halladay covering the bag.
Last season, Halladay led the majors with a career-high four shutouts.
Hudson worked six solid innings and got out of several jams. The Braves, though, couldn't do much with Halladay, who retired the first 11 hitters, struck out seven and walked only one.
Werth and Ibanez led off the second with back-to-back doubles against Hudson, giving Philadelphia a quick lead. Juan Castro followed with a single to put runners at first and third, but the Atlanta right-hander got Carlos Ruiz on a short fly to right, struck out Halladay and retired Victorino on a liner to center.
After Hudson worked around Utley's double and an intentional walk to Howard in the third, the Phillies added to their lead in the sixth. Howard led off with a single, and Werth brought the big man all the way home with a double to left. Again, it could have been worse for the Braves.
Ibanez was walked intentionally and a forceout left runners at first and third. Knowing they couldn't afford to get any farther behind against Halladay, the Braves pulled their infielders up to the edge of the grass. The move paid off when Ruiz grounded to shortstop Yunel Escobar, who threw a one-hopper toward home that was scooped by catcher Brian McCann in time to put the tag on Werth.
Glaus thought he'd gone deep for the second night in a row, hitting a towering drive to the deepest part of Turner Field. But Victorino ran back, timed his jump perfectly and reached over the yellow line at the top of the wall to steal away a homer.The Braves threatened again in the seventh.
Jones and Brian McCann hit singles on the first two pitches of the inning. After Glaus struck out, Heyward worked Halladay for a walk to load the bases. Escobar then ripped a liner up the middle that looked to be headed for center field and possibly a tie game.
But Utley made a diving stop — perhaps helped slightly by the ball skidding off the side of the mound — and flipped to Castro, who threw on to first for the rally-ending double play.
NOTES: Five of Philadelphia's seven hits were doubles. ... Halladay has seven shutouts since the start of the 2008 season. ... Jones had two of Atlanta's hits, doubling in the fourth to become the first baserunner against Halladay.