PHILADELPHIA -- Two days after watching teammate Roy Halladay throw a no-hitter, Phillies right-hander Roy Oswalt went to the mound on Friday and was rusty in a 7-4 victory over the Reds in Game 2 of the National League Division Series.
"I knew I wasn't going to throw a no-hitter. The biggest thing to me was [to] get deep into the game," Oswalt said. "I really didn't think about the no-hitter. I have to do my job."
Oswalt lasted just five innings, allowing four runs -- three earned -- on five hits. He acknowledged that he wasn't himself in the game's the first three innings. It also didn't help that it was his first starting assignment in nine days. The right-hander did pitch one inning out of the bullpen on Sunday.
"I was rusty [during] the first three innings," Oswalt said after the game. "You throw out of the bullpen and throw an inning against the Braves [on Sunday] when the game is not really counting. But I felt better as the game went on. I felt like I could go two or three more innings, and throw pretty good-quality innings."
In the first inning, Oswalt allowed a leadoff home run to Brandon Phillips, who was a triple short of the cycle. Cincinnati scored its second run an inning later, but don't blame that on Oswalt. An error by second baseman Chase Utley allowed Laynce Nix to touch home plate.
Two innings later, Oswalt gave up his second home run of the game, a solo shot to Jay Bruce that gave Cincinnati a three-run lead.
In his last inning on the mound, Cincinnati scored its final run of the game, when Phillips scored on a sacrifice fly by Joey Votto to make it a 4-0 game.
"Bad, bad, pitch selection to Bruce. It wasn't a bad spot; It was just a bad pitch selection," Oswalt said. "I knew better than throwing that pitch. Other than that, the leadoff home run was 2-1. I got behind Phillips. I threw a slider for a strike and he hit it. The other runs were kind of scratched out here and there. I really didn't get going until about the fourth inning. All the hits came off sliders."
But Philadelphia bailed Oswalt out by scoring a combined seven runs in the final four innings. Being around this team since late July, Oswalt has learned not to give up on the game. It helps that the team has a powerful lineup and an above average bullpen -- which pitched four shutout innings.
"That's the thing about this team," he said. "They never give up. I knew if I kept the game close, we would have a chance to win. They take pitchers and they make the pitchers work. I wanted to keep it a little closer than that, but they did a good job coming back.
"[The relievers threw a shutout inning] and the guys started scoring. It got the momentum back toward us once it went [to] 4-2 [in favor of the Reds]. I knew we had a chance."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.