Oct 072010
The Phillies' Roy Halladay throws a no-hitter

The Phillies' Roy Halladay throws a no-hitter

October 7 Philadelphia Inquirer:

“Nearly an hour after achieving immortality for the second time this season, Roy Halladay walked through the Phillies‘ clubhouse. No one spoke to him as he made his way across the room to his locker in the corner.

A sheet of white paper was taped up there, the first few paragraphs of a breaking news story someone printed out. “Phillies’ Roy Halladay throws playoff no-hitter,” the headline said. Halladay studied it for a few seconds. He never looked at the unopened bottle of Dom Perignon 1999 sitting in a bucket of ice to the right of him. He pulled his hooded sweatshirt over his head and disappeared through a doorway.

For 13 seasons, Roy Halladay had waited for this moment, as did the rest of baseball. In 2 hours and 34 minutes Wednesday, he made the most memorable postseason debut ever as the Phillies beat the Cincinnati Reds, 4-0, in Game 1 of the National League division series at Citizens Bank Park.

“It was a lot of fun,” Halladay said, as only he could.

After pitching one of the greatest games in baseball history, Halladay was mobbed by his teammates on the mound. It was a scene that happens in the postseason only when a team wins a series.

And this was just the beginning.

Halladay pitched the second no-hitter in postseason history. He stands beside the Yankees’ Don Larsen, who pitched a perfect game in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series, as the only ones to do it.

It was Halladay’s second no-hitter of the season. He threw a perfect game May 29 against Florida, a night that became the signature moment of his career – until Wednesday.

The sellout crowd stood, cheered, and waved white towels for much of the final six outs. His teammates didn’t move from their positions in the dugout. Fans booed other fans for getting up and leaving their seats for different viewing positions.

In the owner’s box, Phillies president David Montgomery sat with other team executives. He didn’t move, either.

“You’re watching,” Montgomery said, “and you say, ‘This can’t really happen, can it?’ ”

It did. It happened, and many in the Phillies‘ clubhouse said Halladay had even better stuff Wednesday than he did on that sticky May night in Miami. On a bigger stage, with the baseball world watching, Halladay was pristine.

The only Reds runner, Jay Bruce, reached on a six-pitch walk in the fifth inning. Incredibly, Halladay threw first-pitch strikes to 25 of the 28 batters he faced. Of the 104 pitches he threw, just 25 were balls. He struck out eight.

“Absolutely unreal,” Charlie Manuel said.

Maybe Rich Dubee, Halladay’s pitching coach, said it best.

“The marathon is over,” Dubee said. “The 11 years of grinding and working are over. Now it’s time to really enjoy it and cherish it. I think he understands that. You work so long to get here. You better be yourself. You might as well enjoy it and run with it. Tonight he did.”

The final play was the most dramatic. Brandon Phillips dribbled a ball a few feet away from home plate. It was a sure out. But Phillips’ bat landed in the way of the ball, which bounced up against it. Catcher Carlos Ruiz fell to his knees as he picked up the ball and tossed to first to end the game.

“I was definitely panicking because it was the big out,” Ruiz said.

There were just two other close calls. In the third, Reds reliever Travis Wood lined out sharply to right. In the fourth, Joey Votto hit a grounder in the hole on the left side that Rollins fielded on the edge of the grass. He threw off his back foot to retire Votto with ease.”

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