At his dominant best until a shaky ninth inning, Roy Halladay held on to throw his first complete game of 2011, leading the Philadelphia Phillies past the Washington Nationals 3-2 Wednesday night.
Through eight shutout innings, Halladay (2-0) allowed only a pair of singles by Adam LaRoche. In the ninth, Halladay allowed four hits, including RBI singles by Laynce Nix and Danny Espinosa.
But with two on, the two-time Cy Young Award winner ended the game by throwing six strikes in a row to fan pinch-hitter Matt Stairs and Ivan Rodriguez, who argued the game-ending call at length.
Halladay had nine strikeouts and two walks.
The scariest moment for Halladay -- and his team -- came in the fourth, when half of Espinosa's broken, splintered bat flew directly at the pitcher's head. Halladay ducked out of harm's way at the last instant, and his defense recorded a double play.
Halladay walked one batter in 15 2-3 innings this season before he issued consecutive free passes to Ian Desmond and Rick Ankiel in the third. But ex-Phillies outfielder Werth -- booed by large
batches of Philadelphia fans each time he strode to the plate -- grounded out to end the inning.
The last time Halladay walked two batters in a row also came against the Nationals, on Aug. 20 last season, when Adam Dunn and Zimmerman drew bases on balls in the first inning.
After LaRoche's second hit, leading off the fourth, Halladay retired 14 of 15 batters. Then came the ninth, when Ankiel led off with a double, and Werth singled, putting runners at the corners. After LaRoche struck out, Nix singled to right, driving in Washington's first run. Espinosa then scored another with an infield single.
With Jose Contreras warming up in the bullpen, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel went out to the mound for a visit, but left Halladay in. And Halladay finished off the game in style.