|Written by Bernie Linn|
|PHILADELPHIA – Under cool, windy, rainy skies on Wednesday evening, fans at Citizens Bank Park and a national television audience witnessed an historic event, one in which the Phillies’ Roy Halladay become only the second pitcher in major league post-season history to throw a no-hitter. And it paced Philadelphia to a 4-0 victory over the Cincinnati Reds in Game One of a National League Division Series.
Halladay joined Yankee pitcher, Don Larsen who achieved a perfect game 2-0 against the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1956 World Series.
Ironically, during Halladay’s last start against the Reds at Citizens Bank Park on July 10th, a no-hit game was broken up in the ninth inning. Reds rookie lefthander Travis Woods’ bid for a no- hit game ended with a clean hit into centerfield by catcher Carlos Ruiz. Ultimately, the Phillies eventually won that game 1-0 in 12 innings.
From the start, Halladay had excellent control of his pitches, which painted the corners of the strike zone and handcuffed Reds batters all evening.
Halladay’s bid for a perfect game was spoiled in the top of the fifth inning, when Jay Bruce was issued a walk on a 3-2 pitch.
After toiling in the major leagues for twelve years, Halladay was finally in the spotlight of playoff baseball, and took advantage of the opportunity with his second no-hit game in 2010.
“It’s just one of those special things that I’ll always remember,” said Halladay. “You want to share things like this with your family and friends. But the best part about it is that the playoffs take priority, and that’s pretty neat for me to be able to go out and win a game like that and know there’s more to come for us and more to accomplish.”
“He (Halladay) takes the team to another level.” said Phillies’ centerfielder Shane Victorino. “It’s absolutely amazing!”
In dealing with the pressure of backing up his pitcher’s bid for a no-hitter, left fielder, Raul Ibanez added, “For a position player, you have to catch the ball and make the play.”
“Great command. Absolutely unreal “ said Phils manager Charlie Manuel. “No body said anything. No one said a word.”
And with a grin, Manuel added, “It was great coaching.”
The closest the Reds came to ending the no-hitter came off the bat of the Brandon Phillips.
With two outs in the ninth, Phillips hit a dribbler off home plate that carried a few feet. Ruiz retrieved the ball and threw from his knees to first baseman Ran Howard , beating Phillips by a step.
“On the final out, he (Phillips) checked up a bit,” said Howard. “Chooch (Ruiz) went down on his knees. He stayed in there and made the play.”
The Phillies first run was scored in the first inning, when Victorino slid across home plate after a sacrifice fly by Chase Utley. The Phils would add three more runs in the second inning to finish the scoring.
Notes: The crowd of 46,411 was the third- largest all-time in the history of Citizens Bank Park.
The Phillies have won Game One of all of their opening playoff series, dating back to October 1, 2008.
Best sign seen at the ballpark. Doc says: “Take these zeros and call me in the morning.”