Hamels, 3 Phillies relievers no-hit Braves

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Phillies Throw Combined No-Hitter


By GEORGE HENRY

ATLANTA (AP) -- On Labor Day, Cole Hamels and the Philadelphia bullpen spread the workload on a no-hitter.

Hamels and three Phillies relievers combined on the season's fourth no-hitter, blanking the Atlanta Braves 7-0 Monday and giving a last-place team a rare reason to celebrate.

It was all the more unusual in that Hamels left the game with his bid intact after six innings. He was fine with the decision, too, having already thrown 108 pitches at a hot afternoon at Turner Field.

"Just understanding the situation, every time I went out there I was battling control issues," Hamels said. "I wasn't getting ahead of guys. Walking the leadoff hitter will put you in a lot of trouble, and it does. It builds up your pitch count."

Hamels (8-6) struck out seven, matched a season high with five walks and hit a batter.

Relievers Jake Diekman, Ken Giles and Jonathan Papelbon each pitched a perfect inning to close out the 11th combined no-hitter in big league history. A smiling Hamels watched from the bench as they finished off what he started.

"I think having a combined no-hitter is very difficult because guys have to come right in and get the guys out, no matter what the situation is," Hamels said. "It's a little more dramatic to be able to see that you're trying to play the cards as best you can against the lineup."

Manager Ryne Sandberg knew Hamels was tired and ready to come out of the game. Their discussion was a quick one.

"It didn't take long," Sandberg said. "He was pretty well spent there. The early innings had something to do with it. The stressful innings, stranding the runners at second and third a couple of times, but he wasn't going to go nine. And he ran the bases the inning before."

Papelbon was in the middle of the hugs and handshakes on the mound when it was over.

"I think it's a cool experience," Papelbon said. "It's definitely been a rough go at it this year for our ballclub. Something to kind of hang our hat on for the year. Cole has been our bona fide ace for the entire the season, and it's good to preserve those wins for our starters. Today it was preserving a no-hitter."

Clayton Kershaw and Josh Beckett of the Dodgers and Tim Lincecum of the Giants threw no-hitters earlier this year.

Right fielder Marlon Byrd foiled the Braves' best bid for a hit. With runners on second and third in the third inning, Byrd raced in and toward the line to make a diving catch on Chris Johnson's slicing liner to end the inning.

"It happened at a perfect time, making that catch," Byrd said. "Keeping him in the game, keeping us in the lead, the whole nine. It was nice."

Johnson came close again in the ninth with a grounder up the middle. Shortstop Jimmy Rollins ranged behind the bag to make the play.

Phil Gosselin then lined out to first baseman Darin Ruf, who had taken over in the ninth for Ryan Howard, to end the game.

Hamels singled and scored in the sixth inning, and got pats of congratulations in the dugout after pitching the bottom half. He was on deck in the seventh, but Sandberg's decision already was made when Hamels was pulled for pinch-hitter Grady Sizemore.

The 30-year-old Hamels already had impressive accomplishments on his resume - in 2008, he was the MVP of the World Series and the NL championship series, and he's a three-time All-Star.

Now, the lefty can claim part of a no-no, too.

Diekman struck out two and Giles fanned three before Papelbon took over.

Kevin Millwood and five Seattle relievers teamed up to pitch the previous combined no-hitter, against the Dodgers in 2012. The first combined no-hitter came in 1917 when Babe Ruth walked the first Washington batter of the game and was ejected, and Boston Red Sox reliever Ernie Shore didn't allow another runner.

Roy Halladay pitched the previous two Phillies no-hitters - he threw a perfect game against the Marlins in 2010, then threw a no-hitter the same year in the playoffs against Cincinnati.

It was 12th no-hitter in Phillies history, and the first combined effort. The last pitcher to no-hit the Braves was Ubaldo Jimenez of Colorado in 2010.

Ben Revere tripled and drove in a career-high five runs. The leadoff man started the day with 15 RBIs this season.

Hamels factored in the Phillies' first two runs. He sacrificed a runner to third in the third inning, and led off the sixth with a single and scored from second on Rollins' triple.

Atlanta, which had won 11 of 15, began the day 1 1/2 games back in the NL wild-card race. Jason Heyward drew two walks and stole three bases. The struggling Braves' offense has scored one run in the last three games.

"The game of baseball's kind of funny," Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "You feel like you've hit a good stride and all of a sudden you go through a stretch where you score one run in 27 innings, and you're lucky enough to win one of those games."

Julio Teheran (13-10) gave up five hits and five runs - two earned - with four walks in 6 2-3 innings. He left after Revere's bases-loaded triple made it 5-0 in the seventh. Shortstop Andrelton Simmons' error set up the runs.

Philadelphia has won Hamels' last five starts against the Braves. He owns an 0.97 ERA and four victories in that span.

Last 15 no-hitters:

Hamels, 3 Phillies relievers no-hit Braves
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 15: Cole Hamels #35 of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches against the San Francisco Giants in the bottom of the first inning at AT&T Park on August 15, 2014 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Philadelphia Phillies' Jonathan Papelbon pitches during a baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Monday, Aug. 25, 2014, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 1: Jake Diekman #63 of the Philadelphia Phillies throws a seventh inning pitch against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on September 1, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Philadelphia Phillies relief pitcher Ken Giles works in the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves Monday, Sept. 1, 2014, in Atlanta. Giles combined with starting pitcher Cole Hamels, and relief pitchers Jonathan Papelbon and Jake Diekman for a no hitter. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 25: Tim Lincecum #55 of the San Francisco Giants celebrates after the game against the San Diego Padres at AT&T Park on June 25, 2014 in San Francisco, California. Tim Lincecum threw his second career no-hitter as the San Francisco Giants defeated the San Diego Padres 4-0. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - AUGUST 10: Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches during the game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park on August 10, 2014 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 03: Josh Beckett #61 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches against the Chicago Cubs at Dodger Stadium on August 3, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
Miami Marlins' Henderson Alvarez delivers a pitch during the first inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Friday, July 26, 2013, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
SAN DIEGO - JULY 13: Tim Lincecum #55 of the San Francisco Giants pitches during the first inning of a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park on July 13, 2013 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Andy Hayt/San Diego Padres/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 02: Homer Bailey #34 of the Cincinnati Reds celebrates after throwing a no-hitter against the San Francisco Giants at Great American Ball Park on July 2, 2013 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Reds won 3-0. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 28: (ALTERNATIVE CROP) Homer Bailey #34 of the Cincinnati Reds celebrates his no-hitter with Ryan Hanigan #29 against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the game on September 28, 2012 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Reds defeated the Pirates 1-0. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 15: Starting pitcher Felix Hernandez #34 of the Seattle Mariners pitches in the sixth inning of a 1-0 defeat of the Tampa Bay Rays at Safeco Field on August 15, 2012 in Seattle, Washington. Hernandez threw the 23rd perfect game in Major League Baseball history. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 13: Matt Cain #18 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Houston Astros during the ninth inning at AT&T Park on June 13, 2012 in San Francisco, California. The San Francisco Giants defeated the Houston Astros 10-0. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 08: Starting pitcher Kevin Millwood #25 of the Seattle Mariners pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Safeco Field on June 8, 2012 in Seattle, Washington. The Mariners defeated the Dodgers 1-0 in a combined no-hitter. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 08: Relief pitcher Brandon League #43 of the Seattle Mariners pitches in the eighth inning of a combined no-hitter against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Safeco Field on June 8, 2012 in Seattle, Washington. The Mariners defeated the Dodgers 1-0. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
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