Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Doctober: Halladay no-hits Reds in NLDS opener

by Bob Herpen
The Phanatic Magazine 

Making  his postseason  debut after  13 seasons and 320 starts, Roy Halladay turned in the second no-hitter in playoff history  as  the Philadelphia Phillies took  a 4-0 decision over Cincinnati in Game 1 of the National League Division Series from Citizens Bank Park.

Halladay  (1-0) began the ninth by retiring Ramon Hernandez on a fly to second base.  Pinch-hitter Miguel  Cairo was  set down  on a  foul pop  behind third, then Brandon Phillips hit a weak grounder to the right of home plate. Catcher  Carlos Ruiz  threw to  first  baseman Ryan  Howard, and  the gem  was complete.

It  was the  first playoff no-hitter since  Don Larsen of the New York Yankees hurled a perfect game against the Brooklyn Dodgers in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series.

The 33-year-old threw 104 pitches, 79 for strikes, and his only blemish in the contest  was  a two-out walk to  Jay Bruce in  the fifth inning. He struck out eight  and  also drove in  a run  with a single  to cap his finest performance since tossing a perfect game at Florida on May 29.

Shane  Victorino finished 2-for-4  with a double, two RBI and a run scored for the  Phillies, who  are  embarking on  a  franchise-record fourth  consecutive playoff run. Chase Utley added a sacrifice fly RBI in the first inning for the two-time  defending  National  League  champions,  who will  look  to  take  a
commanding  lead in  this best-of-five series Friday in Game 2. Philadelphia's Roy Oswalt is set to be opposed by the Reds' Bronson Arroyo.

Edinson Volquez's (0-1) first postseason experience lasted just 1 2/3 innings, during which he was charged with four hits, four runs and a pair of walks. Cincinnati  is  making its  first  playoff  appearance  since winning  the  NL Central in 1995.

The  NL East champions  gave Halladay all the offense he needed in their first at-bat,  as  Victorino hit a slicing  double down the left-field line with one out, stole third and scored on Utley's fly to right.

Philadelphia  pushed  home three more  in the second,  all with two outs. Ruiz worked  a  walk, advanced when Wilson  Valdez dribbled one behind second base, and  scored as Halladay lined a hit in front of Reds left fielder Jonny Gomes. Jimmy  Rollins followed with a walk to load the bases and Victorino plated two
with a line single to center for a 4-0 game.

Travis  Wood was called  on to replace Volquez and retired Utley on a grounder to  second to end  the rally. Wood, a 23-year-old rookie, allowed just one hit through 3 1/3 innings, fanning three with one walk.

Halladay  retired  the first  14 batters  he faced until  that two-out walk to Bruce,  but Drew  Stubbs grounded  into an  inning-ending fielder's  choice at second.

The  Reds went quietly in the sixth when Hernandez flew out, pinch-hitter Juan Francisco  grounded  out and Phillips  lofted a fly to  right. It was the same story  in the  seventh as  Orlando Cabrera,  Joey Votto  and Scott  Rolen were powerless against the veteran right-hander.

Rolen,  a former  Phillies player from 1996-2002  and NL Rookie of the Year in 1997,  fanned  swinging to end  the frame after a  pair of check-swings on the previous two pitches.

Gomes  went down  on strikes to start the  eighth on a ball in the dirt, Bruce grounded  meekly to the mound, and Stubbs was caught looking at a called third strike.

Notes: This  is  the second  playoff meeting  between the clubs,  with the only prior matchup being a three-game sweep by Cincinnati over Philadelphia in a best-of-five  NLCS in  1976...Valdez subbed for regular third baseman Placido Polanco, who  was ruled  out with a sore back...Halladay became the first pitcher since Nolan   Ryan  in  1973  to  hurl  a  pair  of  no-hit  games  in  one  season. Virgil Trucks (1952), Allie Reynolds (1951) and Johnny Vander Meer (1938) also accomplished   the  feat...Victorino  vaulted  into  first-place  all-time  in franchise  annals  with 35 postseason hits...He  came into the game one behind
Mike  Schmidt...The Phillies'  last playoff  shutout came  when Cliff  Lee and Chad  Durbin  combined  for  an  11-0  win over  the  Dodgers  in  Game  3  of the  2009  NLCS at  Philadelphia...Curt Schilling was  the last Phils' pitcher to  go the distance  and hurl a shutout, in a 2-0 decision over Toronto during Game  5 of  the 1993 World Series...The  Reds had not been blanked since a 6-0 setback  in  Game 4 of the  1995 NLCS at Atlanta...Cincinnati hadn't been held hitless  since Rick Wise of the Phillies did it on June 23, 1971 at Riverfront Stadium.

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