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Halladay shuts the door on Nats

April 13, 2011

WASHINGTON (AP) — 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 on Wednesday night.

Through eight shutout innings, Halladay (2-0) allowed only a pair of singles by Adam LaRoche, who talked his way back into Washington’s lineup despite a hurt groin.

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 straight strikes to fan pinch-hitter Matt Stairs and Ivan Rodriguez, who argued the game-ending call at length.

Halladay had nine strikeouts and two walks.

John Lannan (1-1) fell to 0-9 against Philadelphia despite pitching solidly Wednesday. He allowed only two earned runs — plus one that was unearned — and six hits, five of which were singles.

Not bad, but nothing compared to what Halladay produced. If Lannan can’t beat the Phillies, Halladay almost can’t lose to the Nationals — or anyone in the NL East, for that matter. He is now 9-1 against the Nats over his career, and has won his 11 starts against division opponents since June 2010.

“He’s got it all. He throws hard. He’s got a great slider. He’s aggressive. All the cliché things that you want in pitchers — working fast and all that stuff,” Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said before the game. “He’s just got really good stuff. The ball moves. He can jam hitters. He can run the ball away from hitters.”

Then Halladay went out and did all of those things for most of the evening against a lineup that was missing Ryan Zimmerman, who went on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with a strained abdominal muscle.

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