Stuck in a four-game losing skid and a perplexing funk offensively, the Phillies saw nothing but positives in a stress-free 8-2 win over the Cardinals on Friday, which went final in 6 1/2 innings because of downpouring rain.
Let's take a look at what went right for the Phillies.
First, Roy Halladay.
• Halladay proved his previous outing was no fluke against a terrible Marlins squad. The 35-year-old mowed down a quality St. Louis lineup for his second straight quality start. Halladay went seven innings, struck out six and made just two mistakes, which resulted in two solo home runs -- his only hits allowed.
• From the third inning through the sixth, Halladay got in one of his typical Halladay grooves. He retired 12 of 13 batters in that span, with the lone runner reaching via walk. His control, however, was so-so. Halladay finished with 59 strikes to 50 balls and threw first-pitch strikes to 11 of 25 batters. Nonetheless, Halladay is 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA in his last two starts -- a pleasant sight for Phillies fans.
Second, the offense.
• The Phillies' bats finally came to life -- and finally drew a walk. After going four consecutive games without a base on balls, Chase Utley worked a free pass in the first inning to end the streak.
• And, an offense that hadn't scored more than three runs in a game since April 10, put up a five-spot in the opening frame and eight total in the first three innings. Jimmy Rollins, John Mayberry, Ben Revere and Humberto Quintero all finished with two hits apiece. The Phillies also went 6 for 11 with runners in scoring position and received two-out RBIs from Mayberry, Revere and Quintero.
• And, last but not least, the Phillies came through against left-handed pitching. Charlie Manuel's club entered Friday hitting a putrid .131 against southpaws, but they tagged St. Louis starter Jaime Garcia (a usual Phillie nemesis) for nine hits and eight runs (four earned) in three innings.
Now, the Phillies must focus on translating Friday night's success into multiple performances. Cliff Lee battles Lance Lynn in Saturday night's Game 3 of this four-game set.