Hold applause

PHILADELPHIA — When Roy Halladay came off the field after his historic performance in the opening game of the Reds-Phillies National League Division Series, his teammates closed the clubhouse door behind him, then stood and applauded.

But the cheering lasted just a few seconds before Halladay cut it off.

"All he said was let's win two more," Phillies reliever Ryan Madson said.

That's because as brilliant as Halladay was in becoming just the second pitcher to throw a postseason no-hitter, it won't mean anything if the Phillies don't win two of the possibly next four games with the Reds. That's a task the Phillies hope to begin Friday, when they send right-hander Roy Oswalt to the mound against Reds righty Bronson Arroyo.

"Last night's gone," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said Thursday.

History is certainly on the Phillies' side. Arroyo hasn't beaten them in a decade, and Oswalt is 23-3 lifetime against the Reds. And the Phillies' scheduled Game 3 starter, left-hander Cole Hamels, never has lost to the Reds, going 6-0 with a 1.07 ERA in seven starts.

Reds manager Dusty Baker knows the numbers. But he figures they should play the games just the same. Especially because his players have thrived this season when the odds were against them.

"This is a very resilient team," said Baker, whose Reds came from behind to win 45 games during the regular season, 22 times in their final at-bat.

Although much of the attention has focused rightly on Halladay, who made his playoff debut Wednesday after 12 years in the majors, one teammate has waited even longer to get to the postseason.

First baseman Mike Sweeney, in his 15th season, has more service time in the big leagues without appearing in the postseason than any active player.

"Having my wife and kids and my parents here, it was a moment I'll never forget," said Sweeney, a five-time All-Star who was acquired from the last-place Mariners in August. "I didn't even have an at-bat. But it was by far the highlight of my career."

kbaxter@tribune.com

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