Roy rips through Reds
PHILADELPHIA (AP) Roy Halladay finished his warmup tosses and stood on the mound, waiting for a commercial to finish so he could resume working on his masterpiece.
Nothing could deter Halladay in his postseason debut. Not the long television breaks. Not the rain in the early innings. Not the best-hitting team in the NL.
Halladay threw the second no-hitter in postseason history, leading the Philadelphia Phillies over the Cincinnati Reds 4-0 in Game 1 of the NL division series on Wednesday.
"It's surreal, it really is," Halladay said. "I just wanted to pitch here, to pitch in the postseason. To go out and have a game like that, it's a dream come true."
Don Larsen is the only other pitcher to throw a postseason no-hitter. He tossed a perfect game for the New York Yankees in the 1956 World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers. The 54th anniversary of Larsen's gem is this Friday.
Halladay took the Year of the Pitcher into October. The excitement spread beyond Citizens Bank Park the last two outs were shown on the video board at Target Field, where the Twins were preparing to play the Yankees, and Minnesota fans cheered.
The All-Star right-hander, who threw a perfect game at Florida on May 29, dominated the Reds with a sharp fastball and a devastating slow curve in his first playoff start.
The overmatched Reds never came close to a hit. Halladay allowed only one runner, walking Jay Bruce on a full count with two outs in the fifth, and struck out eight. He threw 104 pitches, 79 for strikes.
"It's no fun out there," Reds slugger Joey Votto said. "It's like trying to hit nothing. He's an ace among aces."
Halladay spent 12 seasons with Toronto, far from the postseason. A trade last December brought him to the defending two-time NL champions, and gave him this chance.
"It's been a great year, a fun year, we obviously have a ways to go," Halladay said.
With a sellout crowd standing in the ninth and chanting "Let's Go, Doc!" Halladay got a loud ovation when he jogged to the mound to start the inning.
Ramon Hernandez popped out to second baseman Chase Utley for the first out. Pinch-hitter Miguel Cairo then fouled out to third baseman Wilson Valdez.
Halladay retired Brandon Phillips on a tapper in front of the plate to end it. Catcher Carlos Ruiz pounced on the ball, getting down on his knee as the ball rolled near Phillips' bat, and made a strong throw for the final out.
"If I was catching, I probably would've picked up the ball and bat and threw them both," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.
Halladay pumped his fist into his glove as Ruiz rushed to the mound. Just like catcher Yogi Berra did with Larsen, Ruiz started to jump into Halladay's arms. Unlike Berra, the 5-foot-8 Ruiz didn't wrap up his pitcher in a bear hug.
Shortstop Jimmy Rollins made the toughest play to preserve the no-hitter, going deep in the hole and making a strong throw to retire Votto in the fourth.
Pitcher Travis Wood hit a sinking liner to right that Jayson Werth caught in the third. Pinch-hitter Juan Francisco hit a hard grounder up the middle in the sixth, but Rollins scooted over and made it look easy.
There were five no-hitters in the majors this year as pitchers dominated. Five no-hit bids were broken up in the ninth inning, too.