ATLANTA — 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.”