It wasn’t until his 130th and final pitch that the struggling San Diego Padres finally got to Roy Halladay.
Even so, Will Venable’s RBI single with two outs in the ninth inning yesterday merely denied the Philadelphia Phillies and their sensational pitching staff a third shutout during the course of a four-game sweep.
Halladay tied his career high with 14 strikeouts as the Phillies beat the Padres, 3-1, in San Diego for their fifth straight win.
Halladay (3-1) took a two-hitter into the ninth before allowing three singles, including Venable’s run-scoring base hit. Antonio Bastardo came on with runners on first and third and got pinch hitter Nick Hundley to fly to left on his first pitch for his first save.
“I felt good,’’ Halladay said. “Even at the end I felt good. It was one of those days where, especially through the middle innings, there weren’t a lot of high-stress pitches, and I think that plays a part into it, especially being able to throw more pitches. If you’re doing it with the bases loaded every inning, it takes a different toll.’’
Halladay’s 130 pitches were the most in the majors this year.
Halladay was so dominant, mostly with his changeup and curveball, that San Diego didn’t get a runner past first base until the ninth. He allowed only five singles while walking one.
Halladay, who struck out at least 10 for the 12th time in his career, fanned six straight at one point. He struck out everyone in the lineup except pitcher Wade LeBlanc.
He retired 16 in a row until the ninth. Halladay also struck out 14 as a Blue Jay on June 2, 2009, against the Angels.
“He’s one of the best in all of baseball,’’ San Diego manager Bud Black said. “He was on today. We got to him, but it was a little bit too late.’’
Shane Victorino hit an inside-the-park home run leading off the seventh inning for the Phillies when his drive into right-center went off Venable’s glove as his arm hit the ground while trying to make a diving catch.
Rays 2, Blue Jays 0 — James Shields pitched a four-hitter for his second consecutive complete game, Ben Zobrist hit a two-run homer, and visiting Tampa Bay shut out Toronto.
Shields (2-1) threw just 95 pitches, wrapping up his seventh career complete game in a brisk 2 hours, 5 minutes. The righthander also threw a four-hitter against the White Sox last Tuesday.
Shields struck out seven and lowered his ERA to 2.35. The Rays won for the 10th time in 14 games following a 1-8 start.
Braves 9, Giants 6 — Nate McLouth hit a two-run single off Brian Wilson with two outs in the 10th inning and visiting Atlanta held off San Francisco for a three-game sweep.
Jason Heyward hit a three-run home run and a double, then singled to start the 10th. Chipper Jones also singled before Dan Uggla walked to load the bases. Wilson got two quick outs and nearly escaped the jam before McLouth’s grounder up the middle provided the go-ahead runs.
Mets 8, Diamondbacks 4 — David Wright homered twice and Jason Pridie hit the first home run of his career to lead host New York over Arizona.
The victory gave the Mets a four-game winning streak, their first since Sept. 13-16. Jonathon Niese pitched seven innings for his first win of the year.
Dodgers 7, Cubs 3 — Andre Ethier extended his hitting streak to 21 games with an RBI single in a five-run first inning and Los Angeles won for the fourth time in five games by routing host Chicago.
Rangers 8, Royals 7 — C.J. Wilson struck out 10 in seven innings, Adrian Beltre hit one of his team’s three homers, and 41-year-old Arthur Rhodes got the save as Texas completed a three-game sweep of visiting Kansas City.
Twins 4, Indians 3 — Jason Kubel had a two-run double in the seventh inning that lifted host Minnesota to its third straight victory.
Athletics 5, Mariners 2 — Coco Crisp had three hits, scored three runs, and stole a base, and Brett Anderson pitched seven strong innings as visiting Oakland defeated Seattle.
Tigers 3, White Sox 0 — Max Scherzer struck out seven in eight scoreless innings, and host Detroit beat Chicago to finish a three-game sweep.
Marlins 6, Rockies 3 — Mike Stanton hit a tiebreaking three-run home run with two outs in the eighth inning, and Florida made the most of its three hits to top Colorado in Miami.
Nationals 6, Pirates 3 — Mike Morse had a three-run homer, his first of the season, among his three hits, and Adam LaRoche also homered for Washington in Pittsburgh.
Cardinals 3, Reds 0 — Jake Westbrook threw six innings of three-hit ball in his first career start on three days’ rest and Yadier Molina hit a three-run home run in the sixth off a tiring Edinson Volquez for host St. Louis.
Brewers 4, Astros 1 — Randy Wolf allowed four hits over eight sharp innings for host Milwaukee.