Halladay spun a perfect game against the Marlins, striking out a season-high 11 batters in a 1-0 victory while completely flustering the Fish for 27 outs with his deadly five-pitch arsenal to become the 20th pitcher in Major League history -- and the second this season -- to notch perfection.
Halladay said he didn't allow himself to really think about a perfect game until there were two outs in the bottom of the ninth. But way before that, the Phillies' dugout was in full perfect-game mode.
"Nobody wanted to talk, nobody wanted to say anything to mix up the routine," said Phillies third baseman Placido Polanco, who was out of action because of a left elbow injury. "A lot of stress, but good stress."
"When you're throwing a no-hitter, nobody says nothing to you," said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. "It's quiet. Nobody says nothing. It's always been that way in baseball."
But silence turned to jubilation at 9:23 p.m. ET.
On Halladay's 115th pitch -- a curveball -- Marlins catcher Ronny Paulino bounced a grounder to third base, as Juan Castro ranged to his left, spun and fired successfully to Ryan Howard at first base, who immediately raised his hands in the air and joined a bouncing mob right in front of the mound Halladay owned on this Saturday night.
Before being surrounded by teammates, a usually stoic Halladay smiled ear to ear and extended his arm to receive a warm embrace from his catcher, Carlos Ruiz, who he gave a lot of the credit to for his gem.
"That was amazing," center fielder Shane Victorino said. "It's hard to believe. I could never have imagined being part of something like this."
The 33-year-old Halladay joined Jim Bunning as the only Phillies pitchers to throw a perfect game, and he became the 10th in the history of the franchise to fire a no-hitter. This year, there had been two other no-nos -- by Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez and the Athletics' Dallas Braden, who fired a perfect game on Mother's Day.
"He got it," Manuel said. "He did a [heck] of a job, man."
Afterward, Major League Baseball authenticated the pitching rubber -- which Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria will give to Halladay -- and home plate, firmly entrenching the 33-year-old former American League Cy Young Award winner in the record books.
In the clubhouse, though, Phillies players weren't popping champagne, decking Halladay in the face with shaving-cream pies or even playing loud music (besides, they have a 1:10 p.m. ET game on Sunday).
Perfect margin of error
|Tom Browning||Cincinnati||Los Angeles||9/16/1988|
|Sandy Koufax||Los Angeles||Chicago (NL)||9/9/1965|
|Addie Joss||Cleveland||Chicago (AL)||10/2/1908|
|Lee Richmond||Worcester||Cleveland (NL)||6/12/1880|
But they were still blown away.
"It's fun to watch, it really is," veteran left-hander Jamie Moyer said. "And like I said, it's not an easy task. When you see a no-hitter or a perfect game, you see a guy hit three home runs in a game or four home runs in a game, any kind of feat that happens, it's not like it's orchestrated. This is just what's going to happen tonight."
Halladay struck out four of the first six batters he faced and didn't give up a walk despite getting into seven three-ball counts and going 3-2 on batters six times.
When the former AL Cy Young Award winner got Gaby Sanchez to fly out to left field for the second out of the seventh inning, the 25,086 fans in attendance at Sun Life Stadium -- many of whom were Phillies fans -- began to cheer loudly after every out. That same fan base rose to its feet for the entire ninth inning and gave Halladay a boisterous standing ovation when he got Ronny Paulino to bounce out to third base for out No. 27.
"It's awesome," Halladay said about the support. "To be on the road and have fans -- baseball fans -- that into the game, it's special. It makes it definitely more memorable. I think that's the key thing. They're baseball fans. It made it a lot of fun for me."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.