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No-no highlights Reds' feast or famine nature

No-no highlights Reds' feast or famine nature

PHILADELPHIA -- Even though the Reds finished the regular season as the National League team leaders in just about every offensive category, they were just as capable of enduring famine as they were of feasting.

Cincinnati was also shut out 13 times. And the offensive deprivation couldn't have been any worse than the no-hitter Roy Halladay buried them with on Wednesday during the Reds' 4-0 loss to the Phillies in Game 1 of the NL Division Series.

"We didn't go in with the mindset we were going to lose, but we knew we'd be in for a real challenge," said Reds first baseman Joey Votto, an NL MVP candidate that was among league leaders in most offensive categories himself.

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The Reds were blanked by some of the better pitchers in the game this season -- Johan Santana, Matt Cain, Cliff Lee and Phillies lefty Cole Hamels.

And on July 10 vs. the Reds, Halladay worked nine scoreless innings at Citizens Bank Park with only five hits allowed. It foiled an even better evening from Travis Wood, who took a perfect game into the ninth.

"We've faced him before, and he's basically done that to us before. Last time he faced us, I think we scored one run?" right fielder Jay Bruce said. "I don't know if we scored a run."

Nope, they didn't. Cincinnati never crossed the plate that night as a 1-0 loss came in 11 innings.

"He executes his pitches really well," Votto said. "Any time he makes a mistake, which is very rare, he makes mistakes in a safe zone. He misses inside, away, down. He doesn't miss in the middle of the plate. He doesn't miss near a part of the plate where we can do some damage."

Halladay gave up a career high 13 hits to the Reds on June 30 at Great American Ball Park but still pitched an eight-inning complete game. The Reds won, 4-3, after the Phillies had jumped out to a 3-0 lead.

This time, there was not even the slightest chance of a comeback vs. Halladay. He was too good as he threw first-pitch strikes to 25 of 28 batters. Only Wood in the third inning, Brandon Phillips in the sixth inning and Votto in the seventh started an at-bat with a ball.

What made Halladay even tougher for the Reds to tango with on Wednesday?

Just about everything. He made powerless the team with the best batting average, most runs, most hits, most total bases, most home runs most RBIs and the highest slugging percentage.

"I don't think I could put my finger on one thing," Reds left fielder Jonny Gomes said. "The most ideal situation is to throw all of your pitches for strikes. He did that. And then throw all your pitches for strikes on both sides of the plate. And he did that. Doc's got about three, four pitches you've got to worry about. When he's commanding them on both sides of the plate, it turns into about seven, eight or nine pitches. That's what he did. Doc, the bulldog mentally, late in the game, he's just going after you."

In the two games against him during the regular season, the Reds batted .273. In four starts lifetime, he was 1-1 with a 2.84 ERA.

"You know, last time I think we hit him pretty good in Cincinnati," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "He made the proper adjustments. He was working very quickly. You don't want to get beat, number one, and you hate getting shut out, number two, and even worse, no hits. One thing's for sure, we're due to get a lot of hits after this game."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com Read his blog, Mark My Word and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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