PHILADELPHIA – Roy Halladay pitched a two-hit shutout on Sept. 27, 2010, to clinch the National League East title for the Phillies and punch his first ticket to the postseason.
It gave Halladay nine days to prepare for Game 1 of the National League Division Series against the Cincinnati Reds at Citizens Bank Park. He considered this a tremendous advantage. He planned to squeeze every minute out of those nine days. The Reds, he believed, could not outwork him.
“There’s no way,” Halladay said in the upcoming book "Doc: The Life of Roy Halladay." “I’m going to know every single thing about every hitter. So going into that game I was as confident as I’d ever been.”
Halladay threw only the second no-hitter in postseason history that October night, making it one of baseball’s all-time postseason classics.
Halladay’s teammates said they knew after the first inning that they might be part of a special night. They watched Halladay throw the 20th perfect game in baseball history against the Marlins in Miami in May. Halladay had better stuff against the Reds.
Halladay’s only mistake came in the fifth, when he walked Jay Bruce with two outs to end his chance at a perfect game.
“He had that kind of stuff every time,” Bruce said last summer. “He was the type of guy who could go out, the catcher’s got five fingers but he has like seven or eight legitimate pitches to get you out with. Whether it was using the same pitch on different sides of the plate, any count, widening up the cutter or tightening it up, it was one of the deals where you know you were in for it when you faced him and you had to bring your ‘A’ game.
"Any given night he could be like that. It wasn’t necessarily that it was surprising, it was just that it was his first playoff game ever. It just kind of showed you that it didn’t really matter to him. He was just going out there and trying to get outs. It didn’t matter if it was the first Spring Training game or his first playoff game ever. It was dirty.”
Halladay stayed true to himself, even after Carlos Ruiz made a fantastic throw from his knees to retire Brandon Phillips for the final out in the ninth. Afterward, Halladay’s teammates gathered around his locker in the clubhouse. They wanted him to say a few words.
“No speech,” Halladay said, knowing the Phillies needed to win two more games to win the series. “Let’s win two more.”