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Halladay then retired Brandon Phillips on a tapper in front of the plate to end it. Catcher Carlos Ruiz pounced on the ball, getting down on his knee as the ball rolled near Phillips’ bat, and made a strong throw for the final out.

“If I was catching, I probably would’ve picked up the ball and bat and threw them both,” Phils manager Charlie Manuel said.

Halladay pumped his fist into his glove as Ruiz rushed to the mound. Just like catcher Yogi Berra did with Larsen, Ruiz started to jump into Halladay’s arms. Unlike Berra, the 5-foot-8 Ruiz didn’t wrap up his pitcher in a bear hug.

“I felt like we got in a groove early,” Halladay said. “Carlos has been great all year, he helps me get into a rhythm early, throwing strikes.”

Phillies aces Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels ran out of the dugout side-by-side to congratulate the other member of Philadelphia’s Big 3. Pretty soon, everyone in a Phillies uniform was part of the victory party.

Shortstop Jimmy Rollins made the toughest play to preserve the no-hitter, going deep in the hole and making a strong throw to retire Votto in the fourth.

Pitcher Travis Wood hit a sinking liner to right that Jayson Werth caught in the third. Pinch-hitter Juan Francisco hit a hard grounder up the middle in the sixth, but Rollins scooted over and made it look easy.

There were five no-hitters in the majors this year as pitchers dominated. But five no-hit bids got broken up in the ninth inning, too.

Halladay became the fifth pitcher to throw two no-hitters in the same year. He joined Nolan Ryan (1973), Virgil Trucks (1952), Allie Reynolds (1951) and Johnny Vander Meer (1938).

The last time a pitcher came close to a no-hitter in the postseason was quite a while ago. Boston’s Jim Lonborg went 7 2-3 innings against St. Louis in the 1967 World Series before Julian Javier broke up it with a double, STATS LLC said.

The Phillies led the majors in wins (97) for the first time in franchise history, captured their fourth consecutive division title and are trying to become the first NL team in 66 years to win three straight pennants.

They are prohibitive favorites in this best-of-five against the NL Central champion Reds, who are making their first postseason appearance since 1995.

Game 2 is Friday at Philadelphia.

The Reds led the NL in average (.272), homers (188) and runs (790). But they couldn’t do anything against Halladay, who won 21 games and is a strong candidate to win his second Cy Young Award.

The 33-year-old Halladay topped the NL in victories and led the majors in innings, shutouts and complete games. He was at the top of his game from the get-go in Game 1.

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