Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

It's No Holiday for the Hitters Phillies Ace Wins Duel vs. Bedard, Blanking Pirates on Just Two Hits in Eight Innings Phillies 1, Pirates 2

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

It's No Holiday for the Hitters Phillies Ace Wins Duel vs. Bedard, Blanking Pirates on Just Two Hits in Eight Innings Phillies 1, Pirates 2

Article excerpt

The first game of the Pirates' 2012 season came and went Thursday afternoon in an two hours and 14 minutes, the product of two pitchers in rhythm speeding through the opposing lineups.

Erik Bedard limited the Philadelphia Phillies at the plate. His counterpart, Roy Halladay, displayed why he was making his 10th consecutive opening day start.

Halladay's eight scoreless innings led the Phillies to a 1-0 win Thursday against the Pirates at PNC Park.

"Quick games, I think, are easier for pitchers to kind of stay in a rhythm," Halladay said. "Especially for me, the first couple innings, I felt like I got a little better as the game went on."

Halladay (1-0) was a craftsman, walking none and striking out five.

Bedard (0-1) displayed the skill that enticed the Pirates to acquire him as a free agent in the offseason. He allowed one run on six hits in seven innings, walking one and striking out four.

"Any game you lose is disappointing," he said. "We did the best we could, and they came out on top."

Bedard cruised through the first six innings. He allowed four hits in that span, but one was a bunt single and another a soft blooper to right. His earned several called strikes with his curveball, especially against right-handed batters.

"You've got to throw it for strikes," Bedard said. "A curveball is no good if you can't throw it for strikes. When you think they're going to swing, throw it out of the zone to get them to swing and miss."

Starting an at-bat with the curve, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said, re-arranges the batter's mentality.

"Most hitters are up there geared up to hit something firm the first pitch," Hurdle said. "Some guys are actually up there to ambush the first pitch. It recreates a different environment for the at-bat. His fastball gets on you much quicker later in the count."

That fastball ranged from 88 to 90 mph, but often came 15 mph faster than his curve or changeup. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel remembered Bedard pitching against the Phillies in interleague play when Bedard played for the Baltimore Orioles. …

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