Philadelphia Phillies’ Roy Halladay Throws No-Hitter in First Postseason Start

October 6, 2010 by  
Filed under Fan News

My friend Robert and I were eating at a campus bakery shop this afternoon when we saw a fellow college student sitting in the booth across from us wearing a Shane Victorino Philadelphia Phillies jersey shirt. On her laptop was the ESPN Gamecast of the Phillies Game 1 matchup against the Cincinnati Reds.

From afar, I could tell it was 4-0 Philly in the seventh inning. But until she filled us in on what was really happening, we thought Roy Halladay was just shutting out his opponent, something he has done often.

He wasn’t just shutting them out, he hadn’t allowed a hit. And the 12-year veteran was doing this in his first postseason start. One hundred and sixty-nine regular season wins to his name and he was near the end of his first in the playoffs.

Halladay was six outs away from becoming the second pitcher in major league baseball history to throw a no-hitter in the playoffs, with Don Larsen doing so 54 years ago for the New York Yankees. Through seven, not a bad how-do-you-do to October baseball.

Robert and I stayed at Barry’s, one of my regular haunts, for a few more minutes, and left once we heard Halladay had mowed Cincinnati down in order in the eighth.

He was three outs away on a cold and rainy night in Philadelphia, and on a sunny, calm night on Eugene we immediately bolted for the University of Oregon bookstore, where two flat-screen televisions were stationed with potential history waiting to be watched. We had to witness this.

Followed by the Phillies fan who had originally filled us in, we scampered in, turned to the television above the store’s checkout, and watched in awe as Halladay took the hill in the top of the ninth.

Halladay was the one of the best pitchers in baseball this season, winning 21 games. One of those wins was a no-hitter against the Florida Marlins. But that was in Florida, in front of just a few thousand fans, in a depressing stadium. Halladay, with 40,000-plus watching on from beautiful Citizens Bank Park, was on the brink of doing something no one has ever done before: allow no hits while being welcomed to the playoffs.

Ramon Hernandez was first up in the ninth against the 6’6″ ace they call Doc. Halladay had lived up his nickname so far, slicing and dicing the Reds hitters with his repertoire centered around a cut fastball, changeup and curveball with uncanny movement.

Cincinnati had no answer, and they continued to stride to the plate confused, guessing what was coming and unable to hit was they saw. Hernandez took a called strike then got far too under a cutter, popping it second baseman Chase Utley in shallow right-field. Two outs to go.

Pinch-hitter Miguel Cairo, a 36-year-old, 14-year veteran, worked the count even against Halladay, but succumbed to the 33-year old righthander, who mixed up his pitches masterfully.

After seeing a first-pitch curveball, then a fastball, a cutter, and a change-up, Cairo was befuddled by the curveball once more, a sputtering 76 mile-per-hour pitch with diving action most pitchers can only dream about. Just like Hernandez, his swing was weak, and he too popped up, this time to third baseman Wilson Valdez in foul territory. One out to go.

Every fan was on their feet, some waving towels, others clapping on their ace. This moment was baseball at its finest. Halladay on the mound. Brandon Phillips, one of the Reds most dangerous hitters, striding to the plate. It was an incredible atmosphere, with a buzz only a potential no-hitter could produce.

And it only got better in Philadelphia. Phillips took a fastball for strike-one, swung through another to fall into a hole, and then lightly tapped a curveball, Halladay’s 104th pitch and, a testament to his efficiency, his 73rd strike.

Phillips managed to hit it only about 10 feet, and, as he sprinted up the first base line, catcher Carlos Ruiz pounced on it, evaded the bat laying near by, and threw his best overhand fastball from his knees to first base.

It was caught by Ryan Howard, their gigantic first-baseman, seconds before Phillips reached the bag. The celebration had begun. Halladay was in Ruiz’s arms. Bedlam ensued in the stands. A no-hitter, giving Larsen company and creating an amazing memory no one will soon forget. Not Halladay, his teammates, their fans, nor baseball lovers like my friend and I.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

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