Cole Hamels and three Philadelphia Phillies relievers combined to pitch a no-hitter Monday, beating the Atlanta Braves 7-0 and giving a last-place team a rare reason to celebrate.
Hamels (8-6) was pulled after six innings and seemed fine with the decision. He struck out seven, walked five, hit a batter and threw 108 pitches on a hot afternoon at Turner Field.
Relievers Jake Diekman, Ken Giles and closer Jonathan Papelbon each pitched a perfect inning to finish off the fourth no-hitter in the majors this season.
Clayton Kershaw and Josh Beckett of the Dodgers and Tim Lincecum of the Giants each threw no-hitter 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 sliced liner to end the inning.
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 a decision already seemed to be made when he was pulled for a pinch-hitter. A smiling Hamels watched the rest of the game from the bench.
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 no-no, too.
Diekman struck out two and Giles fanned three before Papelbon took over.
This was the 11th combined no-hitter in major league history. Kevin Millwood and five Seattle relievers teamed up to do it 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. The last pitcher to no-hit the Braves was Ubaldo Jimenez of Colorado in 2010.