The day before he pitched the Phillies to an 11-6 victory over the Cardinals in Game 1 of the National League Division Series, Halladay was unsure how to answer a question about respecting a red-hot lineup, yet remaining competitive and attacking.
So Halladay recited Shakespeare: "I came here to bury Caesar, not praise him."
Et tu, Berkman?
The moment Berkman's home run to right field in the first inning led Halladay to spike the rosin bag behind the mound could not have been a greater juxtaposition from Halladay's last appearance in the 2010 NLDS against the Reds. Then, he wrapped his arms around catcher Carlos Ruiz, and teammates danced on Halladay's mound after the veteran right-hander joined the ranks of baseball immortals by throwing the second no-hitter in postseason history.
Division Series History
"I couldn't think of a worse start, really, than putting your team in a hole like that," Halladay said. "You get to this point, you're not going to pack it in. And I feel like sometimes, you get in those situations, you try and do too much, and it continues to get worse."
Said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel: "He was kind of like a Rocky movie. He got mad after he gave up the homer. That ticked him off, and he hung in there, and he got going. But he's special. He's everything that people talk about."
Halladay had a 3.66 ERA in first innings this season. From the second inning on, it was 2.14. After Berkman's home run, Halladay retired 23 of his last 24 batters, allowing only a single by Skip Schumaker in the second and sending down the final 21. Rafael Furcal's left-field flyout to end the eighth was the only ball hit out of the infield after Schumaker's hit.
"If you get three runs in less than nine innings against the guy, you've actually made him do worse than he normally does," Berkman said. "That's how good he is. That's why he's making $22 million a year, and that's why people consider him the best in the game."
Halladay was rewarded. Howard's three-run home run in the Phillies' five-run sixth gave them the lead, and Raul Ibanez capped the big inning with a two-run homer to give Halladay cushion he didn't need.
"I know he's in the room, so I don't want to swell his head too much, but that was huge," Halladay said of Howard. "It's starting to get late in the game, and one swing of the bat, you're up. We were able to add on after that, which made my job a lot easier."
Nate Mink is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.