By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday
PHILADELPHIA—If you needed any indication that Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay was back to his old self after spending most of the season the disabled list, all you needed to do was see the standing ovation he got from fans at Citizen’s Bank Park after he left the field in the sixth inning.
Halladay (3-4, 7.81 ERA) didn’t perform badly for a guy who got the call to pitch for the Phillies late Saturday night. He was supposed to be pitching in a rehab assignment for the Phillies Double-A affiliate in Reading.
“I was half asleep. I was more than happy to come back,” said Halladay, who had shoulder surgery. “Hotel phone was going off, my cell phone was going off. Everything was ringing. I didn’t know what was going on. It took me a second to figure out what was going.”
Facing major league hitting for the first time since May, Halladay allowed just two runs on four hits in six innings of work with two strikeouts and two walks. He said the velocity on his fastball, which was mostly in the high 80s, but got up to about 90-91 miles per hour, will eventually come, but he wants his other pitches such as his sinker or cutter to be effective as well.
“I’m going to continue to throw fast balls, but I need to show guys early in the count that I’m throw something soft and put as much in their minds as I can early,” Halladay said. “If I go out there and show them that I’m going to throw all fast balls, they’re going to be on it. I’m going to have mix and match and change speeds as much as possible.”
The Phillies offense Sunday helped Halladay by giving him a whole lot of run support and some spectacular plays in the field as the Phils came away with a 9-5 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Things started a little shaky for Halladay, who gave up two runs in the first two innings on an RBI groundout and a sacrifice fly. But after the second inning, Halladay settled down and didn’t allow a run for the remainder of the game.
The offense came through in a big way. They scored four runs in the first inning. Two of those came on an RBI double by third baseman Cody Asche. Left fielder Darin Ruf had a base loaded single that put the Phillies on the board.
John Mayberry Jr. added to the Phillies lead by blasting a two-run homer to left in the fourth inning. The Phillies added three more runs in the sixth to close out the scoring.
“We scored early and then in the middle and then late,” said interim manager Ryne Sandberg. “In our wins on the homestand here the guys are really coming through with clutch hits, situational hits and big hits with guys on base. I feel like it’s getting contagious throughout the lineup now.”
Phillies newcomer Roger Bernadina had a couple spectacular plays in the field including robbing Diamondbacks third baseman Matt Davidson of a two-run homer with a leaping catch at the wall. He also had a diving catch in the seventh inning that took away another hit from Arizona catcher Tuffy Gosewich.
“For a second I thought the ball was over my head,” Bernadina said. “I kept going when I crossed the warning track, I jumped and made a catch out of it.”
Added Halladay: “That was probably a game-changing play.”
For good measure, Bernadina was 1-for-4 with a double and two runs batted in.