Phillies ace Roy Halladay hugs catcher Carlos Ruiz and is congratulated by first baseman Ryan Howard after his perfect game against Florida Saturday night. AP Photo.
Phillies fans knew there was going to be a no-hitter. But not many were expecting that Roy Halladay would be perfect. It’s almost fitting that it happened in Philadelphia where Halladay, a championship-starved pitcher, finally landed himself on a true contender.
Doc faced 27 batters and showed each one of them to their seats on the bench as he pitched the 20th perfect game in major league history and the second this season. The Phillies won the game 1-0 over the Marlins in Florida.
It was the second perfect game of the season (Oakland’s Dallas Braden threw one a couple weeks ago) and the second in Phillies history (Jim Bunning was the first on Father’s Day in 1964). The last no-hitter for the Phillies was Kevin Millwood in 2003.
Halladay got the lone run he needed in the third inning. Chase Utley hit a fly ball to center field that got misplayed by Cameron Maybin. Wilson Valdez was hustling the whole way and scored to make it 1-0.
One run was all that was needed for the 32-year old ace. He struck out 11 in the effort to see his ERA drop to a 1.99 and his record to improve to 7-3.
Florida thought they could thwart Doc’s efforts in the ninth with a couple of pinch hitters who have a history with the Phillies. They must have known ex-Phillies kill the Phightins, obviously leaving fans nervous. With one out, former Phillie Wes Helms struck out looking. Then former catcher Ronny Paulino hit a ground ball to third baseman Juan Castro who threw out Paulino to clinch history.
Josh Johnson was no slouch either in his effort against Halladay. He allowed one unearned run on seven hits and a walk in seven innings pitched.
The Phillies are winners of two straight and are hoping to build on the momentum. Though the offense has only scored four runs the last two games, the winning is all that matters. The offense will come.
Doubles: Valdez (6), Castro (5).
WP: Halladay (7-3). LP: Johnson (5-2).
In a classy gesture, the Marlins are going to dig up the pitching rubber and give it to Doc as a souvenier. From ESPN.com:
The Marlins said they would give Halladay the pitching rubber as a souvenir, leading to a slightly surreal scene. The lights at Sun Life Stadium went out and fireworks began exploding two minutes after the game ended, with the field crew preparing for a postgame concert behind second base.
Working in the dark, four men went to work on the mound, digging up the slab where Halladay made history.