Sep 272010
Phillies ace Roy Halladay

Phillies ace Roy Halladay

September 27

WASHINGTON — Roy Halladay probably imagined this moment a million times.

The players rushing onto the field.

The champagne burning in his eyes.

The smiles.

The Phillies clinched their fourth consecutive National League East championship Monday night with an 8-0 victory over the Nationals at Nationals Park. They also clinched the league’s best record because they won their 94th game and win tiebreakers against the Padres and Giants. That means the Phillies will have the opportunity to play an eight-day NL Division Series beginning Oct. 6. That could be a huge advantage for the Phillies, who would have the opportunity to pitch Halladay, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt — the Big Three — on normal rest throughout the series.

But it truly seemed fitting to have Halladay on the mound Monday.

He waived his no-trade clause and signed a three-year, $60 million extension — he would have received much more had he waited to become a free agent following this season — to join the Phillies in a December trade with the Blue Jays.

It seemed more than worth it to Halladay.

He had won a Cy Young Award. He had started an All-Star Game. He had been considered one of the best pitchers in baseball for years.

He never tasted a pennant race.

But he never pitched in October.

He will now.

Halladay allowed just two hits in going the distance in a masterful performance for his 21st victory. He retired the first six batters he faced until Wilson Ramos hit a leadoff single to right field in the third. Halladay retired the next 14 batters he faced until Adam Dunn hit a leadoff single to center in the eighth.

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