ATLANTA (AP) â€” 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 seemed fine with the decision, too, having already thrown 108 pitches at a hot afternoon at Turner Field.
Hamels (8-6) struck out seven, matched a season high with five walks and hit a batter.
Relievers Jake Diekman, Ken Giles and closer Jonathan Papelbon each pitched a perfect inning to finish off the gem. A smiling Hamels watched from the bench as they finished off what he started.
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.
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 pinch-hitter Grady Sizemore.
The 30-year-old Hamels already had impressive accomplishments on his resume â€” 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 â€” 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.
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 1Â½ games back in the NL wild-card race. Jason Heyward drew two walks and stole three bases.
Julio Teheran (13-10) gave up five hits and five runs â€” two earned â€” 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 a 0.97 ERA and four victories in that span.
Phillies: RHP Kyle Kendrick (7-11) starts Tuesday vs. Atlanta. He has a 6.55 ERA over his last nine starts. … Braves LHP Mike Minor (6-8) is winless with two losses and a 2.77 ERA in two starts against Philadelphia this year.