One reason baseball is my favorite sport: Every day there's a chance you'll see something you've never seen before. I had never seen a no-hitter thrown in a postseason game before -- until today.
Roy Halladay was incredible Wednesday in Philadelphia's 4-0 victory over the Cincinnati Reds in Game 1 of the NLDS. The veteran right-hander is no stranger to no-hitters -- he tossed a perfect game at Florida on May 29. But I've already heard and read some comments that Halladay was even more dominant against the Reds than he was that day against the Marlins.
I believe it. From what I saw, the Reds never got close to getting a hit. Halladay had incredible movement on his fastball. The sinking action led to 12 groundball outs for Cincinnati; all of them weakly struck. Halladay's control was pinpoint. He could throw his breaking ball for a strike whenever he wanted to. With most no-hitters or perfect games, a pitcher needs a good defensive play or two made behind him. That wasn't really the case this time.
Philadelphia right fielder Jayson Werth caught a sinking liner off the bat of Cincinnati pitcher Travis Wood in the third inning, and that was about the only play that had any degree of difficulty at all. Cincinnati's only baserunner came in the fifth, when Jay Bruce walked on a 3-2 pitch with two outs.
Halladay's no-hitter is only the second in postseason history. The other was the famous perfect game thrown by Don Larsen of the New York Yankees in the 1956 World Series. Halladay's game was quite a way to start off what should be an exciting MLB postseason.
Texas 5, Tampa Bay 1
Cliff Lee wasn't as dominant as Halladay, but he did strike out 10 over seven innings to lead Texas to a 5-1 win over Tampa Bay.
A close call went Lee's way early, and he took full advantage. Tampa Bay had the bases loaded with one out in the first inning. Carlos Pena was at the plate. Lee's 2-1 pitch rode up and in, and Pena backed out of the way. It appeared to be ball three, but the umpire ruled the ball had ticked Pena's bat. Replay showed otherwise. Instead of a 3-1 count with the bases loaded, it was 2-2. That's a big difference.
Lee eventually struck Pena out looking on a 3-2 pitch for the second out. He struck Rocco Baldelli out as well and got out of trouble. The Rays never had a serious threat again -- their only run coming on a solo home run by Ben Zobrist.
Tampa Bay really struggles against left-handed pitching. The Rays couldn't handle Lee at all. We'll see if they can do better against the Rangers' other lefty starter, C.J. Wilson, in Game 2.
New York 6, Minnesota 4
In a game that ended late, the Yankees continued their postseason mastery of the Twins. Mark Teixeira's two-run homer in the seventh inning off Jesse Crain provided the winning margin.