The Philadelphia Phillies, Cole Hamels and his fellow pitchers in general have had few real accomplishments this season. All the Phillies are doing is playing out their third straight meaningless September, while Hamels faces the next few precious years of his career trying to lead a questionable staff. But on Sept. 1, the Phillies, Hamels and three other pitchers still made history, as the first Philadelphia hurlers to throw a combined no-hitter during a 7-0 win over the Atlanta Braves.
Hamels didn't always have no-hit stuff, which was why this turned out to be a combined no-hitter in the first place. Five walks gave the Braves a chance to do some damage without getting any hits, yet they failed at every turn. The Phillies put together a 2-0 lead in the meantime, but the offense did its most damage after Hamels left.
Thanks to 108 pitches through six innings, Hamels couldn't come back out for the seventh. Yet Philadelphia salted the game away with three runs in the top of the inning, leaving the no-hitter as the last avenue of suspense. The Braves couldn't find new life against relievers Jake Diekman and Kenny Giles in the seventh and eighth, going down in order and leaving erratic closer Jonathan Papelbon to finish them off.
Papelbon didn't stumble either, setting the Braves down 1-2-3 and closing the combined no-hitter on a line out from Phil Gosselin. Regardless of how the Phillies put it together, it was their first no-hit, no-run game since the 2010 NLDS against the Cincinnati Reds. back when Roy Halladay was their ace and Philadelphia was the dynasty of the National League.
Four years later, the Phillies have turned into a laughingstock with a bleak future. Gone are the days when Philadelphia had enough aces to throw a no-hitter on any given day, and could do it with only one pitcher. Yet while Hamels wasn't the dominant ace he was four years ago, he overcome his spotty control to set up a throwback Labor Day for the Phillies.
While Philadelphia rediscovered its glory days on the mound, Atlanta suffered a no-hitter at the worst time, as it tries to keep pace with the San Francisco Giants and three NL Central leaders for the second wild card. The Braves were the only team with something to play for on this day, yet they certainly could have fooled the Phillies.