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Phillies ace Roy Halladay goes from great to perfect

MIAMI — Roy Halladay was the last one to walk into the Phillies clubhouse at Sun Life Stadium. The entire team gave him a standing ovation as he made his way to his locker in the far corner of the room.

"He smiled!" centerfielder Shane Victorino said.

It took a perfect game for the stoic Halladay to snap his humble personality.

"Say something!" the players yelled.

Halladay pointed at his catcher, Carlos Ruiz, and smiled again.

"I don't have anything else to say," Halladay said.

And they all cheered.

Halladay became the 20th pitcher in history and second Phillie to pitch a perfect game as Philadelphia beat the Marlins 1-0 on an unearned run in the third inning.

Jim Bunning pitched the other Phillies perfect game, 6-0 over the Mets on Father's Day 1964.

It was the second perfect game in the majors this month alone, unheralded Dallas Braden doing it for the Athletics against the Rays on May 9. It's the first time in the modern era that there were two in the same season.

"So we're not the last team to have a perfect game pitched against it," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "That was a very comforting thought in the dugout when I saw that flash up there."

The Rockies' Ubaldo Jimenez threw a no-hitter, too, in April vs. the Braves.

In this one, the final out was a ball hit into the hole on the left side. Juan Castro made the play, spun and threw to first to retire pinch-hitter Ronny Paulino.

Halladay pounded his right fist into his black glove and put his arms up as Ruiz ran toward him for a bear hug.

It was over: 27 up, 27 down.

"It's something you never think about," said Halladay, 33. "It really is. It's hard to explain. There's days where things just kind of click and things happen."

Halladay pitched his fifth complete game; no one else has more than two.

Pitching coach Rich Dubee said Halladay made adjustments from his last start, an ugly 52/3-inning outing against Boston in which he allowed seven runs. His first step in his windup was off. Halladay said he spoke to Jamie Moyer about it, too.

"He hasn't been as comfortable in his delivery," Dubee said. "We talked about things. He was locked in (Saturday). It was one of those exceptional nights."

Said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel: "He did a hell of a job, man."

The only run scored when Florida centerfielder Cameron Maybin misjudged a Chase Utley flyball, turning it into a three-base error that allowed Wilson Valdez to score in the third.

Halladay had seven three-ball counts. Six of his 11 strikeouts, including the final four, were called by home plate umpire Mike DiMuro.

But, really, there were few close plays.

"You've got to take your hat off to Doc," Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "That's why he is who he is."

Steely-eyed, standing tall and working swiftly, Halladay broke into a big smile as his teammates rushed in to congratulate him.

"That's a big emotion for him," Moyer said, laughing. "It's fun to watch."

Phillies 1

Marlins 0

Phillies ace Roy Halladay goes from great to perfect 05/29/10 [Last modified: Sunday, May 30, 2010 1:07am]

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