The task facing Roy Oswalt was simple.
Not even a full 24 hours after Charlie Manuel used six relievers in a losing effort, Oswalt had to go deep into the matinee series finale to give the bullpen a rest.
How will a complete game shutout do?
Oswalt (12-13) dominated the Mets, 4-0, at a drizzling Citi Field on Sunday afternoon.
Oswalt struck out six while allowing only a walk to Mets starter Jonathon Niese (9-8) and four hits. The Phillies improved to 83-61 while the Mets fell to 70-73.
The shutout was the second of the season for Oswalt, who was traded from Houston to Philadelphia on July 30, and the eighth of his career. It was also the 20th complete game performance of his 10-year career.
“That’s the best game he’s pitched since he’s been here,” said Charlie Manuel. “He did a good job. It was exactly what we needed. Without a doubt.”
Manuel and Oswalt pointed to the “friendly competition” the righty has with fellow starters Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels.
Oswalt went so far as to compare them to former Astros teammates Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte.
“Those guys came over there and were big names in the clubhouse. The good thing was I could slip in the back door and get a lot of wins because the hype was on them.
Here with the guys we have, Halladay and Cole, they compete every day,” said Oswalt, who noted that his plan against the Mets was to throw fastballs, changeups and curveballs. “When (Clemens) was there, you couldn’t ask for a better teammate. A great guy in the clubhouse to have. Pettitte, the same way. He had the demeanor that he didn’t think he should ever lose.
“These guys are (the) same way. You can see it with Halladay. He gives up one hit (and) he thinks it’s the end of the world. You have to have that competitiveness.”
Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez each had an RBI. Ibanez’s came on his 14th homer of the season, a solo shot off Niese to lead off the seventh. Utley went 2-for-3 while Howard had a 1-for-4 day.
The Phillies announced after the game that Jimmy Rollins will receive an MRI in Philadelphia today.