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Roy Halladay pitched only the second perfect game in Phillies history, and only the 20th all time yesterday in Miami. Twice already this season, Charlie Manuel, headed for the mound late in a game to visit with his new ace. In one game, May 6 against St. Louis, Halladay had already thrown 117 pitches. In the second game, May 18 against the Pirates, Halladay had already thrown 126 pitches. Both times, Halladay talked his manager right back into the dugout and kept on pitching.

Is there any other pitcher alive that happens with anymore? Yeah, right. But when the manager hands Roy Halladay the baseball, it practically takes a court order to compel him to him to give it back.

The funny thing is, before Saturday, the prevailing wisdom was that all those pitches had taken their toll on Halladay. He’d allowed 27 hits in his previous three starts — none of them wins. And the seven runs he gave up to the Red Sox last Sunday were the most any pitcher had ever allowed one start before throwing a perfect game.

But Halladay made a little mechanical adjustment before this start, after a suggestion by his 47-year-old teammate/sage, Jamie Moyer. And what happened over the next couple of hours ought to end the is-Roy-Halladay-overworked debate.

His 2-hour, 11-minute masterpiece Saturday was vintage Halladay. It was his 86th career no-walk game. It was his 54th complete game. And, of course, nearly two-thirds of his pitches (72 of 115) were strikes. An incredible 26 of them were called strikes.

And when he’d finished retiring that 27th hitter of the night, he’d added his name to one of baseball’s most indelible lists.

For the rest of time, that list will now show that Roy Halladay — a man who has devoted nearly his entire professional life to the pursuit of perfection — had finally become one of the rare pitchers in history to officially achieve it.

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