By Matt Gelb Juan Castro stood in the on-deck circle and watched with the rest of the 45,310 at Citizens Bank Park. Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz hit a hard liner to third that Adrian Beltre stabbed and turned into a double play to preserve Daisuke Matsuzaka's no-hitter in the eighth inning of Boston's 5-0 victory.
Now it was Castro's turn.
"When you see games like that," Castro said, "the guys are making all the plays, it makes you think it's one of those nights where he has everything in his favor."
But, as Charlie Manuel said, you never know in this game.
Castro broke his bat on a 93 m.p.h Matsuzaka fastball that ran in on his hands. He hit a blooper that fell into short left field beyond Marco Scutaro's outstretched glove for a single. The 26th batter to face Matsuzaka finally delivered the first Phillies hit.
It was the only one. The Phillies were one-hit for the first time since Washington's Tim Redding did it April 2, 2008.
"When I saw it fall in, that was really about it," Matsuzaka said through an interpreter. "I was a little bit disappointed, but I didn't let it drag on, and I moved on to focus on the next hitter."
Considering Matsuzaka's recent outings, it was a surprising result. Matsuzaka hadn't pitched more than seven innings since Aug. 29, 2008. He entered Saturday's game with a 7.89 ERA in four starts.
None of that mattered against the Phillies.
"I thought he was just wild enough to be good," Manuel said.
Matsuzaka failed to become the first pitcher to throw a nine-inning no-hitter against the Phillies since April 16, 1978 when Bob Forsch did it for St. Louis.
Nonetheless, he was impressive.
In the seventh, it looked as if something special could actually happen. With two outs, Jayson Werth smoked a comebacker to Matsuzaka who stuck out his glove and somehow caught the liner. He took a deep breath. Werth stared at Matsuzaka and shook his head.
"That's a little luck right there," Manuel said.
But Castro, starting only after the Phillies were forced to put shortstop Jimmy Rollins on the disabled list for the second time in 2010, ensured there would be no history.
"He was throwing a hell of a game," Castro said. "I was just trying to make contact. I wasn't looking to hit the ball the other way, up the middle or pull it. I was just trying to make some contact."
And even then, it looked like Boston would come up with another spectacular catch. Scutaro, listed at 5-foot-10, said if he was two inches taller, he would have caught it.
"What can I say? I know all the country of Japan is hating me right now," Scutaro said. "I can just say, 'Sorry. Sorry.'"
The Phillies, who had received quality starting pitching every game in the month of May, were finally let down by Kyle Kendrick.
Kendrick allowed five runs in 4 2/3 innings and became the first Phillies starter to not pitch at least five innings since, well, himself. He also failed to do it April 14 against Washington.
But it was Mastsuzaka's night. His 112th pitch was a fly out to right field off the bat of Ross Gload to end the eighth and Francona decided that was enough.
"Tonight, with the defense behind me, a lot of hard-hit balls were turned into outs and they made a lot of tough plays," Matsuzaka said. "So I thought to myself, maybe if it's going to happen, it's going to be a night like this. But it didn't work out."