The Phillies’ unprecedented fourth consecutive division title was carved in stone on the back of an outstanding pitching performance, a 97-pitch complete game shutout by Roy Halladay, who allowed only two hits while striking out six and not walking a batter. Halladay was the star, of course, with a game score of 89, but the offense more than did its job on that night. Every Phillies position player reached base, and while Jayson Werth’s solo home run off John Lannan to lead off the second inning would turn out to be enough, the Phillies tacked on seven more runs anyway. Werth doubled in Placido Polanco and Chase Utley in the sixth inning, and after Raul Ibanez singled, advancing Werth to third and chasing Lannan, Carlos Ruiz singled in Werth to make it 4-0. And the rout was on. With two outs in the top of the ninth, Shane Victorino, Polanco, Utley, Howard, and Werth strung together a walk, a single, a double, another walk, and another single to bring the score to its final of 8-0.
The amazing thing about this night was that there ought to have been more of a to-do about a spectacular performance to put the icing on a historic run of success, but if there’s a word to describe that game, it’s “routine.” Think about that. A complete-game shutout in less than 100 pitches for Halladay, and the 21st win of a historic season? Routine. An 8-0 win against a division rival in the heat of the stretch run to lock up a division title? Routine. If ever there were an indication that these were not your older brother’s Phillies, the overwhelming routineness of a two-hit shutout to clinch the division was it.