While a newly unveiled statue of the late, great Harry Kalas stood sentry over Citizens Bank Park, it was Roy Halladay who was standing guard inside of her walls on Tuesday night. Only on this night, the usually alert guard may have been caught napping on the job, as the Phillies dropped the first of three to the National League West leading Arizona Diamondbacks.
Both teams came into the game with a full head of steam -- the D'Backs winning their last six -- while the Phillies were fresh off a 9-1 road tip and winners of 10 of their last 12 -- in what was a possible preview of the National League Division Series.
The upstart Diamondbacks got to Halladay (15-5) early with an RBI single from Lyle Overbay in the second inning that scored Chris Young to give them the first lead of the night.
It appeared that it was all that Doc would give up, as the right-hander was stingy with the base runners for most of the night, and would finish with 14 strikeouts -- tying a season high for the reigning Cy Young Award winner and resident Dean at the Academy of Pitching Excellence.
The Phillies got on the board a few innings later, when Shane Victorino, who has been an absolute beast this season, launched his 13th homer of the year into the seats in right, a two-run shot that gave the Phils a one run lead. And with Doc dealing the way he was, it looked to be more than enough, especially after the eighth inning, when he set down the side on strikes.
With the 'pen warming, Doc took the mound in the top of the ninth, bent on finishing what he started. After allowing a leadoff single to Justin Upton after appearing to strike him out on a ball that was oh-so-close, he allowed Miguel Montero to single to left, before striking out Chris Young, who was attempting to bunt.
And with one away, he left one over the plate for new D'Back Overbay, who doubled to right center to give Arizona the lead in the ninth inning.
It was a lead that would not be relinquished, despite the fact that the Phillies put the leadoff hitter on base in the bottom of the frame, as J.J. Putz strike out both Ross Gload and Jimmy Rollins to end the game to give the Diamondbacks the first game of the series.
After all this winning that the Phillies have been doing, it was a brutally tough loss, just because they haven't lost like that in a while, as they are 66-1 when heading into the ninth inning with a lead in 2011. It's easy to lay this loss on Halladay, who left a meatball over the plate for Overbay on what would be the deciding hit of the game. However, the Phillies left more than a couple baserunners on, including in the bottom of the seventh, when Halladay was stranded on third base with one out in the inning but failed to score.
There is something to be said about Charlie Manuel's decision to not go to the warmed up Ryan Madson in the ninth, especially after Doc saw himself into trouble. Maybe the Phils skipper wanted to let his ace work himself out of a jam -- it's not like Roy wasn't capable of doing so -- but with your closer warm and two more outs to go, why not let the fresh arm get the job done?
No matter, a loss for the Phillies really isn't the worst thing in the world, considering their rather comfortable lead in the division. Not that they should get complacent, but it could be worse.
Arizona reliever Brian Shaw (1-0) pitched a scoreless eighth inning to earn his first career win.
The Phils will look to get back to their winning ways on Wednesday night, when Cliff Lee (12-7, 2.83) faces off against Joe Saunders (8-9, 3.76).