Halladay secures Phils' NL East four-peat

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, Last Updated: 1:08 AM ET

WASHINGTON D.C. - Roy Halladay fittingly put the finishing touches on the Phillies' fourth consecutive National League East crown with another masterpiece, as the right-handed ace tossed a two-hit shutout in an 8-0 victory over Washington on a rainy night at Nationals Park.

The two-time defending NL champion Phillies had already clinched a postseason spot, but on Monday sealed their dominance atop the division.

Halladay (21-10), who will be pitching in the first meaningful games of his 13-year career in October, faced the minimum through seven frames and had six strikeouts and no walks to solidify his Cy Young Award campaign. He leads the majors in wins, innings (250 2/3), complete games (nine) and shutouts (four).

Jayson Werth provided most of the offense with a home run and four RBI, as Philadelphia improved to a stellar 20-5 in September and became just the third team in NL history to make at least four consecutive playoff appearances.

The Phillies also clinched the best record in the NL and home field advantage throughout the playoffs, as the Senior Circuit won this year's All-Star Game.

"This is probably one of the best teams we've had over the last four years. We're right where we need to be," Werth said.

John Lannan (8-8) was touched for four runs on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings for the Nationals, who had just taken two of three from the Phillies' closest rival, Atlanta, over the weekend.

"You're out to win the division. [The Phillies] accomplished that," Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said. "We're not [division champions] and they are."

The Phillies, coming off a series loss to the Mets, opened the 2010 season with the newly-acquired Halladay on the mound at this same field. They came away with a win in that one, and, despite a slew of injuries to their offensive stars throughout the year, came full circle on Monday.

Werth staked the visitors to an early lead with a leadoff blast over the left- field wall in the second inning, proving to be the game-winner.

Halladay erased the only baserunner he allowed in the first seven frames, getting a 4-6-3 double-play ball off the bat of Alberto Gonzalez following Wilson Ramos' leadoff single in the third.

Werth extended the margin in the sixth, as he found the gap in right to knock in Placido Polanco and Chase Utley, then came around on a Carlos Ruiz double off Craig Stammen.

Philly added four runs in the ninth on Polanco's RBI single, Utley's two-run double off Nyjer Morgan's glove and Werth's dribbler down the first-base line.

Halladay was at 87 pitches after eight innings and stayed in for the ninth after nearly getting hit in the head by a Joe Bisenius pitch on a bunt attempt in the top half.

Gonzalez lined out to third for the first out, pinch-hitter Adam Kennedy flew out to right and Danny Espinosa struck out swinging on a Halladay changeup to send the Phillies into a subdued celebration on the mound.

This was the third time in the last four years the Phillies clinched the division against the Nationals.

"I felt good, we got enough runs, especially early," Halladay said. "It was a fun game to pitch in."

The Phillies then waited for Halladay to pop the first bottle of champagne in the clubhouse.

"It means a lot, hopefully we get to do it again," the 2003 AL Cy Young Award winner said.

Game notes

The only other NL teams to reach four straight postseasons are the Atlanta Braves (1991-93, 1995-2005) and the New York Giants (1921-24) ... At 94-63, the Phillies have their highest win total since 1993 (97-65) ... The Phillies have won 18 of their last 21 games on the road ... Halladay, who improved to 14-1 against the NL East this year, had given up at least three runs in each of his previous six starts coming into the game. He has pitched at least six innings in 55 consecutive road starts ... Lannan turned 26 on Monday. He is 0-8 in 11 lifetime starts against the Phillies ... Ryan Zimmerman missed his fifth consecutive start with a right rib strain and is likely done for the season. If that's the case, the .307-hitter will become the first DC-based big league third baseman to hit .300-plus since "Buddy" Lewis hit .317 for the 1940 AL Nationals ... Polanco, Ruiz and Werth each had three hits ... Game time: 2:37 ... Phillies first baseman Mike Sweeney had not been to the postseason in any of his previous 15 seasons.


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