PHILADELPHIA - Roy Halladay threw the second no-hitter in postseason history, leading the Philadelphia Phillies over the Cincinnati Reds 4-0 Wednesday in Game 1 of the NL division series.
Don Larsen is the only other pitcher to throw a postseason no-hitter. He threw a perfect game for the New York Yankees in the 1956 World Series against Brooklyn. The 54th anniversary of Larsen's gem is this Friday.
"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."
Halladay took the Year of the Pitcher into the postseason. The excitement 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 tossed a perfect game at Florida on May 29, dominated the Reds with a sharp fastball and a devastating slow curve in his first playoff start.
Halladay allowed only one runner, walking Jay Bruce on a full count with two outs in the fifth, and struck out eight.
Halladay spent 12 seasons with Toronto, far from the postseason. A trade last offseason brought him to the defending two-time NL champions.
With a sellout 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.
Ramon Hernandez popped out to second baseman Chase Utley for the first out. Pinch-hitter Miguel Cairo then fouled out to third baseman Wilson Valdez. Halladay then retired Brandon Phillips on a tapper in front of the plate to end it. Catcher Carlos Ruiz pounced on the ball and threw out Phillips.
Halladay pumped his fist into his glove as Ruiz rushed to the mound. Just like catcher Yogi Berra did with Larsen, Ruiz started to jump into Halladay's arms. Unlike Berra, Ruiz didn't wrap up his pitcher in a bear hug.
"I felt like we got in a groove early," Halladay said. "Carlos has been great all year, he helps me get into a rhythm early, throwing strikes."
Phillies aces Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels ran out of the dugout side-by-side to congratulate the other member of Philadelphia's Big 3. Pretty soon, everyone in a Phillies uniform was part of the victory party.
Game 2 is Friday at Philadelphia.
Rangers 5, Rays 1: Picking up where he left off during in a dazzling October run a year ago, Cliff Lee shut down the Tampa Bay Rays while outpitching David Price and leading the Texas Rangers to a 5-1 victory in the opening game of the AL playoffs.
Lee matched a postseason best with 10 strikeouts while allowing five hits - one after the second inning. During one dominating stretch, he retired 16 of 17 batters before giving up Ben Zobrist's homer in the seventh.
Lee improved to 5-0 in six career postseason starts. He went 4-0 with a 1.56 ERA in five starts for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2009, including 2-0 with a 2.81 ERA against the New York Yankees in the World Series.
The Rangers ace lost to the Rays three times during the regular season, however the AL East champions were no match for the 2008 AL Cy Young Award winner this time. The Rangers, in the playoffs for the first time in 11 years, stopped a nine-game postseason losing streak that began in 1996.
Nelson Cruz and Bengie Molina homered for the AL West champions. Darren O'Day and Darren Oliver pitched the eighth, and rookie Neftali Feliz worked out of a ninth-inning jam by striking out the final two batters.
Price, a 19-game winner, allowed five runs and nine hits in 6 2/3 innings. He struck eight with no walks.
Lee began this season with the Seattle Mariners, who dealt him in early July to Texas, which was looking to bolster its rotation with a No. 1 starter capable of leading the Rangers deep into the postseason. Philadelphia acquired him from Cleveland during last year's run to the World Series, and the left-hander is eligible for free agency after the season.
The Rays beat him twice while he was with the Mariners, and once with the Rangers during Tampa Bay's three-game sweep of Texas at Tropicana Field in August.