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A determined, intense Halladay got ahead of hitters and worked quickly. He threw first-pitch strikes to 17 of the first 18 batters.

“It was great managing,” Manuel joked. “He was very good. He had a tremendous feel. He sold his pitches well.”

Halladay even did it at the plate. He ignited a three-run, two-out rally in the second with an RBI single.

On the opposite side, 27-year-old Edinson Volquez looked like a postseason rookie. He never seemed to get comfortable on the mound, taking his time between pitches, tugging at his cap and long dreadlocks and breathing deeply. At one point, Hernandez, from his crouched position behind the plate, motioned for him to calm down.

Volquez allowed four runs and four hits in 1 2-3 innings. The hard-throwing right-hander was 4-3 in 12 starts this season after returning from elbow surgery.

Halladay was so eager to join the Phillies that he passed up a chance to test free agency after this season and signed a $60 million, three-year extension to complete a trade. Halladay probably would’ve received the richest contract ever for a pitcher if he held off, but he wanted to play in Philadelphia.

There was much talk down the stretch about Halladay’s inexperience in the postseason. The Phillies also have Oswalt and Hamels. Both pitchers have been dominant in previous playoff games, but Halladay got the ball and didn’t disappoint.

Halladay got his first strikeout in the second, fooling Scott Rolen on an 85 mph changeup. He caught Rolen looking at a fastball on the outside corner to start the fifth, and fanned him again on a 79 mph changeup in the seventh.

The Phillies gave Halladay all the runs he would need in the first.

Shane Victorino sliced a one-out double down the left-field line. He stole third and scored on Utley’s sacrifice fly to right. A fired-up Victorino slid headfirst barely ahead of Bruce’s strong one-hop throw, got up and patted plate umpire John Hirschbeck on the behind on his way to the dugout.

Ruiz drew a two-out walk in the second and Valdez bounced an infield single that shortstop Orlando Cabrera fielded on the second-base side of the infield. Halladay then hit a hard liner to left that fell in ahead of Jonny Gomes’ sliding attempt. Ruiz scored to make it 2-0. After Rollins walked to load the bases, Victorino chased Volquez with a two-run single.

With the crowd waving their white-and-red “Fightin’ Phils” rally towels, Victorino fouled off consecutive 3-2 pitches before lining a hit to left-center for a 4-0 lead.

The Phillies got swept by the Reds in the 1976 NLCS. Philadelphia won a franchise-record 101 games that season to snap a 25-year playoff drought. But the Phillies ran into the Big Red Machine, which swept through the postseason to win its second consecutive World Series title.

It’s a reversed situation now. The Phillies — call them the New Red Machine — are perhaps in the middle of a dynasty, while Cincinnati is the young team on the rise.

Notes: Former Phillies LHP Scott Eyre, a member of the championship team in ‘08, threw out the first pitch. … Phillies 3B Placido Polanco was scratched with a sore back. He expects to play Game 2. … The Phillies swept a tight four-game series in Philadelphia heading into the All-Star break, winning by scores of 4-3, 9-7, 1-0 and 1-0. … Halladay hit .141 (13 for 92) this season.

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