PHILADELPHIA -- Watching Roy Halladay pitch a complete game is nothing new.
It's almost taken for granted when his command is so precise and his pitch count is under control, even if it comes at the expense of striking batters out.
"It's always fun to watch him pitch," first baseman Ryan Howard said. "I kind of feel like every time I watch him pitch, it's like watching him pitch for the first time."
Halladay threw his National League-leading fifth complete game in the Phillies' 3-1 victory against the Athletics on Sunday afternoon in front of a crowd of 45,863 at Citizens Bank Park.
He gave the back end of a bullpen stung by injuries an extra day off, getting through three innings during his outing in 10 or fewer pitches. He said he was aware that the bullpen was thin, and the amount of work late-inning relievers like Michael Stutes have had lately.
"Those are always important," said Halladay, who joined Atlanta's Jair Jurrjens as the NL's only 10-game winners. "That's the benefit of not striking guys out. If you can get guys out on less pitches you can get deep. I'll definitely take those games where you have a four-, five-pitch inning, and [that] allows you to add on an inning or two at the end."
Halladay allowed one run on eight hits, with four strikeouts and no walks while throwing 113 pitches.
The right-hander improved to 30-3 in 35 starts in which the Phillies give him a lead.
Sunday, he didn't have to wait long.
The first three hitters in the Phillies' lineup accounted for seven of their 10 hits, including a 4-for-4 effort from shortstop Jimmy Rollins.
Rollins' last four-hit game was May 21, 2009, a 12-5 win against the Reds where he went 4-for-6.
His double in the second inning just missed clearing the fence in left-center field, and he snapped an 0-for-15 streak with his leadoff single in the first.
"Jimmy's had some good games, his consistency at times hasn't been real good," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "He's due to get into a good streak."
The Phillies jumped out to a two-run lead in the first on three consecutive hits at the top of the order, with Shane Victorino's single scoring Rollins. Howard grounded into a double play in the next at-bat, scoring Placido Polanco.
"That meant a lot," Manuel said. "It might not sound like a lot of runs, but that still leaves a little room to work."
The A's cut the deficit in half in the fourth when Rollins nearly collided with second baseman Wilson Valdez chasing a fly ball in shallow center. Running all the way with two outs, Coco Crisp, who reached first on a bunt and moved to second on a groundout by Hideki Matsui, easily scored.
Sensing a chance to tag Halladay for two more in the seventh, A's manager Bob Melvin pinch-hit David DeJesus for pitcher Josh Outman with runners on second and third and two outs.
DeJesus struck out looking on a 3-2 changeup.
Outman, who went to Oakland as part of the 2008 deal that brought Joe Blanton to Philadelphia, pitched six innings, allowed three earned runs on eight hits, walked two and struck out four.
"It's frustrating against anybody, but certainly we put ourselves in a position, one hit here and one hit there, of at least tying the game up," Melvin said. "I thought our approach was good. Certainly, [Halladay's] going to be difficult, but we got our share of hits. We just didn't get a big hit when we needed to. That's the only thing we were lacking today."
Nate Mink is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.