Memorable Halladay weekend

Phillies’ perfect pitcher takes success in stride

Roy Halladay’s perfect game Saturday was the 20th in major league history. Roy Halladay’s perfect game Saturday was the 20th in major league history. (Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press)
By Tim Reynolds
Associated Press / May 31, 2010

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MIAMI — A perfect game was no reason for Roy Halladay to change his routine.

He woke up early yesterday for a workout. He beat his Philadelphia Phillies teammates to the ballpark. He spent time thinking about how to improve in his next start.

And somewhere in there, he might have taken a few moments to reflect on making history.

Not even 12 hours after throwing the 20th perfect game in the major leagues, the ace righthander was back at the ballpark, sticking to his storied workout regimen — seeing no reason to take any time off for basking in Saturday night’s gem against the Florida Marlins.

“Journey’s always better than the destination,’’ Halladay said.

Oh, there was nothing wrong with this particular destination.

Halladay struck out 11 on his perfect night, working out of seven counts of 3-1 or 3-2, and getting a break or two when he needed. Halladay acknowledged yesterday that he thought the chase was over when pinch hitter Mike Lamb led off the ninth inning with a deep fly to center.

Shane Victorino had plenty of room, making the catch with his heels on the warning track.

“Hit that ball pretty good,’’ Halladay said. “Probably was close to going out in 95 percent of the parks. It’s one of those things where, right place, right time, I guess.’’

Right place, right time, for sure. Two batters later, it was over.

The Phillies gave him the ball that Ryan Howard squeezed for the final out, and when it was recorded, only then did Halladay (7-3) allow himself to celebrate.

He smiled. He hugged catcher Carlos Ruiz, who he credited for quarterbacking the gem. And he high-fived a bunch of guys.

Ordinary stuff for most people, although for Halladay, such signs of emotion may have as well been considered a wild party.

“He definitely smiles. It’s not like the first time he’s ever smiled,’’ Phillies closer Brad Lidge said. “That being said, that kind of joy, it’s fun to see on someone’s face.’’

It was the second perfect game in the majors in May, Dallas Braden doing it for Oakland against Tampa Bay a mere 20 days earlier. It’s the first time in the modern era that there were a pair of perfectos in the same season. It’s already the third no-hit effort of 2010, with Colorado’s Ubaldo Jimenez throwing a no-hitter in April.

Halladay didn’t have any plans for the ball he used to record the 27th out, other than saying his boys will want it as a keepsake.

“I’m not huge on a lot of the memorabilia,’’ Halladay said. “I think the memories sometimes last longer than the collection of stuff.’’

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