Welcome to the playoffs, Doc. The Philadelphia Phillies ace showed why he’s the best pitcher in baseball by throwing only the second no-hitter in post-season history Wednesday night. And he did it on his playoff debut.
Not only does Don Larsen now have some company to go with his perfect game in the 1956 World Series for the New York Yankees but this is, incredibly, the second time this season that Halladay has retired all 27 batsmen without them getting a hit. Back in May, he threw the 20th perfect game at the Florida Marlins and this makes him the fifth pitcher to throw two no-hitters in the same season, joining Johnny Vander Meer of the 1938 Cincinnati Reds (last night’s opposition, ironically) Allie Reynolds of the 1951 Yankees, Virgil Trucks of the 1952 Detroit Tigers and Nolan Ryan of the 1973 California Angels.
“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.” You had to feel for the Reds (making their first post-season appearance in 15 years), as they never came close to a precious hit. Halladay allowed only one runner, walking Jay Bruce on a full count, and striking out eight. And continuing the surreal nature of the night, this was the first no-hitter against the Reds since 1971, when Philadelphia’s Rick Wise did for them. The score? Exactly the same as last night: 4-0.
The end of the game mirrored Larsen’s famous leap into catcher Yogi Berra’s arms with Halladay embracing Carlos Ruiz. By this point, news of the feat had spread far and wide with fans over at Target Field, preparing for the Minnesota Twins against the Yankees, watching the final outs and cheering. The remaining piece of this magical puzzle will fit into place this Friday, which is the 54th anniversary of Larsen’s gem.