The Philadelphia Phillies have been abysmal for most of the 2014 MLB season, but Monday was a bright spot, as Cole Hamels and three relievers combined for a complete-game no-hitter against the Atlanta Braves.
SportsCenter reported the final result when the score became official:
COMBINED NO-HITTER FOR THE PHILLIES! Cole Hamels, Jake Diekman, Ken Giles, Jonathan Papelbon combine to no-hit Braves, 4th no-no of season.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 1, 2014
Matt Gelb of The Philadelphia Inquirer pointed out the significance of the game:
It's a Labor Day no-hitter. The first combined no-hitter in 132 years of Phillies baseball.— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) September 1, 2014
Jesse Spector of the Sporting News weighed in on the no-hitter in the grand scheme of the Phillies' season:
Congratulations to the Phillies on filling 58 minutes of their hour-long season highlight video!— Jesse Spector (@jessespector) September 1, 2014
Hamels pitched the first six innings of the contest, striking out seven batters. He allowed five walks while not giving up a hit. The Phillies pulled him after the sixth likely due to him having already thrown 108 pitches, although CBS Sports' Eye On Baseball noted Hamels also suffered a groin injury during the game:
According to Phillies beat writer Todd Zolecki of MLB.com, Hamels said afterward the game ball would be dedicated to team president David Montgomery, who took a medical leave of absence Thursday:
Hamels said team is dedicating game ball to David Montgomery.— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) September 1, 2014
As for the rest of the pitchers who toed the rubber, Jake Diekman, Ken Giles and Jonathan Papelbon closed the door for Hamels. In fact, after Hamels allowed five walks early, the arms out of the bullpen did not allow a single hitter to reach base.
ESPN Stats & Info noted just how historic the no-hitter was for Philadelphia:
The Philadelphia Phillies (since 1893) have never had a combined no-hitter in franchise history (11 individual no-hitters).— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 1, 2014
Cole Hamels pulled after 6 no-hit innings. Last combined no-hitter in MLB: June 8, 2012 - Mariners (6 pitchers)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 1, 2014
As for the league's history of combined no-hitters, High Heat Stats MLB broke down the most recent occurrences:
Most recent combined no-hitters: PHILLIES, today Mariners 6/8/2012 Astros 6/11/2003 Pirates 7/12/1997 Braves 9/11/1991 Orioles 7/13/1991— High Heat Stats MLB (@HighHeatStats) September 1, 2014
Carlos Ruiz caught the no-hitter, helping seal his place in history (via Ace of MLB Stats):
While Philadelphia likely won't be making a playoff push at 63-74—the Phillies are 10.5 games out of the second wild-card spot—the team clearly has tremendous talent on the mound in Hamels. As he proved on Labor Day, the 30-year-old pitcher is one of the best starting pitchers in MLB.
Meanwhile, Atlanta's offensive woes continue. If they are looking to make the postseason, the Braves will need a much greater contribution from the lineup to help out the pitching staff down the stretch.
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