For six innings, they stared each other down in a scoreless battle. The Bucs threatened in their first at-bat when Alex Presley lined a knock to center and Jose Tabata bled a bunt for an infield single, but a McCutch 6-4-3 DP and a Neil Walker fly to left doused the frame. It would be the only inning that the Pirates had a runner get past first base.
Heck, it would be the only hits Pittsburgh collected off Doc and Jonathan Papelbon. The only other pair of Bucco baserunners were Andrew McCutchen and Clint Barmes, both who took one for the team. Halladay put together strings of 9 and 13 consecutive outs during his eight inning stint.
The only other Bucco threat was in the fourth. After McCutch got plunked with one away, Walker lasered a shot into left, but a stretching John Mayberry snagged the ball on the track to squelch the Pirate opportunity.
The game's only run came in the seventh with one away. A Ty Wigginton single and John Mayberry double was followed by a Carlos Ruiz sac fly to medium right. Wigginton barely beat the throw home, and that bang-bang play was the ballgame. Mayberry and Ruiz were the Phiily sparkplugs yesterday, collecting four of the six hits allowed by Bedard from the six-seven spots in the order.
Chris Resop and Juan Cruz closed out for the Pirates, each collecting a pair of Ks, while Papelbon earned his first Philadelphia save with a 1-2-3 ninth and a strikeout, throwing 10 heaters to close out the game.
Doc Halladay's final line was 8 IP, 2H, 2 HPB and 5K while tossing 92 pitches, and Erik Bedard went seven frames, giving up one run on 6 hits, a walk and collecting 4 whiffs after 81 pitches. Both guys were effective and efficient.
The dueling duo were on top of their games, with most of the contact being weak. Halladay changed speeds nicely and featured his cutter, while Bedard's curve kept the Phils off balance most of the game. It all came down to a throw from right being a tad high. C' est la vie.
It doesn't get easier. After an off day, Jeff Karstens will tale on Cliff Lee Saturday night.
- Bedard threw first-pitch strikes to 21 of the 26 batters he faced. Halladay threw first-pitch strikes to 22 of the 27 batters he went up against.
- Yesterday marked Halladay's tenth straight opening day start.
- Nate McLouth got a standing O when he pinch hit in the eighth. He K'ed.
- Clint Hurdle said that Jason Grilli will be the set-up man for Joel Hanrahan to start the season.
- Chris Leroux's injury was the real thing, not a roster crunch wink-wink. He suffered his pectoral sprain in the Buc's final exhibition game, and he knew exactly which pitch was the culprit.