It may have taken Roy Halladay a long time to reach the post-season, but he took to it pretty easily, opening the NLDS with a no-hitter against Cincinnati in the Phillies 4-0 win over the Reds.
The Phillies jumped on starter Edison Volquez for four runs in the first two innings and knocked him out in the second inning. The Reds bullpen gave Cincinnati 7 1/3 innings of shutout work, but the damage was already done and Halladay just took over, becoming a strike machine.
Halladay needed just 104 pitches – 79 of which were strikes – and threw first-pitch strikes to 22 out of the 25 hitters that he faced and ran just two three-ball counts. One of those three-ball counts was to Jay Bruce, who drew the only walk that Halladay gave up, keeping him from a perfect game, which would have been his second of the season.
As it is, Halladay is now just the second pitcher to ever throw a no-hitter in the post-season. Don Larsen’s perfect game against Brooklyn in the 1956 World Series was the first and still stands as the only post-season perfect game.
Shane Victorino got the scoring started in the first with a double and then quickly stole third and scored on an sacrifice fly from Chase Utley to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead.
In the second, it looked like Volquez would work through without any trouble, getting two quick outs before Carlos Ruiz drew a walk and Wilson Valdez, who was playing third for the injured Placido Polanco, singled behind the second base bag. Shortstop Orlando Cabrera tried to flip the ball to second to get Ruiz, but the ball went wide and Ruiz was safe. Halladay’s pitching wasn’t enough, so he lined a base hit to left to score Ruiz and give the Phillies a 2-0 lead. Jimmy Rollins then walked ahead of Shane Victorino’s soft single to center that scored two more runs and make it a 4-0 game.
At that point, Reds manager Dusty Baker went to the bullpen and Travis Woods came on to get the final out of the inning and follow that up with another three shutout innings. Earlier in the season, Woods started a game against the Phillies and carried a perfect game into the ninth inning, but the Phillies wound up with a 1-0 extra innings win.
Both teams have a day off before playing game two on Friday. Roy Oswalt will get the start for the Phillies against Bronson Arroyo for Cincinnati.
Polanco missed game one because of a sore back and was a late scratch after trying to loosen up. He is questionable for game two on Friday.