"He was basically getting every pitch," said Cabrera, who flied out to center, struck out swinging and grounded to second in his three at-bats. "We had no chance."
Cabrera was the hitter who challenged Halladay the most, taking him to two of the pitcher's three three-ball counts all evening. Cabrera saw 18 pitches on the night from Halladay, more than anyone else.
Cabrera, though, likely wasn't referring much to his own at-bats against Halladay, since he took only two called strikes all night -- one down the middle and one on the black inside. Scott Rolen, the Red who was perhaps most effusive in his postgame praise of Halladay, could have argued the called strike three he took in the fifth just off the outside corner.
Most of the Reds, however, merely marveled at Halladay's control on both edges of the plate and with all four of his pitches.
"I think Doc actually took the umpire out of the game by just throwing strikes," said Jonny Gomes. "I really didn't have any questionable strikes on me. I'm not really worried about the umpire too much. I'm worried about the guy on the mound. He did a great job. All four corners down and in, up and in, down and out. He threw all four pitches in all four corners."
That control enabled Halladay to get ahead 0-1 on an astonishing 25 of the 28 batters he faced. While he reached three balls only three times, walking one, he got ahead in the count 0-2 11 times.
Halladay himself, of course, didn't take any issues with Hirschbeck's zone.
"I felt like really it was a pretty fair zone," he said. "From what I saw in between innings, they were calling the same pitches that I was getting. It's one of those things that I think there's always going to be certain cases where people aren't happy with what's called, but that's part of the game."
Tim Britton is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.