Since the Phillies scored four runs early, all the drama was in the top of each inning. After Jayson Werth struck out looking in the fifth inning, Jason Werner immediately turned the page: "All right, Roy."
The fifth inning sounded like the bottom of the ninth any other night. Halladay still had a perfect game going, before Jay Bruce walked. That took a little air out of the crowd, but only for a moment. When Reds first baseman Joey Votto stepped out of the box in the seventh, trying to disrupt Halladay's rhythm, a guy immediately yelled, "Come on!" Votto did it again. The crowd booed, then went crazy for Votto's groundout to Wilson Valdez at third.
After Valdez's perfect throw to Ryan Howard, Chris Hoagland of Blue Bell said: "Let him play quarterback for the Eagles."
Hoagland immediately turned his attention back to Halladay.
"The headline should be: 'As good as advertised,' " said Hoagland, who has a Phillies cell phone that has Utley's uniform on the back. He was at the park with his girlfriend, Cindy Hensel, and her parents. "We call this our second summer home."
Her dad was thinking of Jim Bunning's perfect game, he said. "Brings back memories."
But this was unfolding right in front of them. During the ninth, Hensel kept snapping her rally towel out at the sides, unconsciously, nervously.
"Oh, my God," her father said with one out in the ninth. Hoagland grabbed Hensel's arm from behind during the last at-bat. He kept motioning with his hand to stay calm, as if trying to communicate that message to Halladay.
"As good as advertised," Hoagland yelled during that at-bat, just before Halladay threw his last pitch and nobody stayed calm.
Contact staff writer Mike Jensen at 215-854-4489 or firstname.lastname@example.org.