Halladay's 'surreal' moment

Reds shut out 4-0 Phillies pitcher throws the second no-hitter in post-season history.

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Roy Halladay delivers to a Cincinnati Reds batter during the fifth inning.
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PHILADELPHIA // Roy Halladay finished his warm-up tosses before the ninth inning and stood on the mound, waiting patiently for a commercial to finish so he could resume his masterpiece. Nothing could deter Halladay in his first post-season game.

Not the long TV breaks. Not the rain in the early innings. Not the best-hitting side in the National League.

Halladay threw the second no-hitter in post-season history on Wednesday, leading the Philadelphia Phillies to a win over the Cincinnati Reds 4-0 in Game 1 of their first-round play-off series. "It's surreal, it really is," Halladay said. "I just wanted to pitch here, to pitch in the post-season. 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 post-season 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 today. The excitement over Halladay's showing 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 against Florida on May 29, dominated the Reds with a sharp fastball and slow curve. 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," Joey Votto, the Reds first baseman, said. "It's like trying to hit nothing. He's an ace among aces." Halladay spent 12 seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays and never made the post-season. A trade last December brought him to the Phillies, the two-time defending 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 sell-out 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. After the three-minute break between innings ended - extended to allow for more television commercials - Ramon Hernandez popped out to second baseman Chase Utley for the first out. Miguel Cairo, the pinch-hitter, then fouled out to third baseman Wilson Valdez for the second out.

Halladay retired Brandon Phillips on a tapper in front of the plate to end it. Carlos Ruiz, the catcher, 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," Charlie Manuel, the Phillies manager, said. There were five no-hitters in the majors this year, and five no-hit bids were broken up in the ninth inning.

Halladay became the fifth pitcher to throw two no-hitters in the same year. He joined Nolan Ryan (1973), Virgil Trucks (1952), Allie Reynolds (1951) and Johnny Vander Meer (1938).