Phillies find September joy in luckless season

Not that the Phillies were taking this business too seriously but when someone asked Jake Diekman if he had to battle the adrenalin rush when he came into the game to preserve Cole Hamels’ no-hitter in the seventh inning Sunday afternoon, he pled no contest.

“I was running in and looking up at the scoreboard because they normally have who’s due up,” Diekman said. “And that’s the first time I realized (the no-hitter in progress). I was like, ‘Alright.’”

Diekman, rookie Ken Giles and closer Jonathan Papelbon finished off the Braves in order over three innings for Hamels, giving the Phils their first multi-pitcher no-hitter in the franchise’s 20,105 games. For a team that had lost its way by July, the day was more meaningful than probably the Braves realize.

“I think it’s a cool experience,” said Papelbon, who worked the ninth. “It’s definitely been a rough go at it this year for our ballclub. (This is) something to hang our hat on for the year. Cole’s been our bona fide ace for the entire season and it’s good to preserve those wins for our starters. And today, it was preserving a no-hitter.

“It was just one of those games where anything can bloop in. Just like the (second) at-bat I had, I thought about catching that ball (a Chris Johnson grounder) and I let Jimmy (Rollins) take it, just little things like that. You got to have a little bit of luck to pull a no-hitter.”

Hamels had no qualms about leaving the game after the sixth inning. He began to expect it the inning before, his pitch-count done in my five walks and spotty control.

“I think coming around the fifth inning and seeing where my pitch-count was, I knew that every pitch really kind of mattered,” he said. “Just the way that I went out into that sixth inning and struggled again with locating, I was having to battle every single pitch. I really wasn’t in sync.

“So knowing what was at stake, it wasn’t the end of the world (to leave the game). I felt confident. I was just trying to enjoy the moment as much as possible and I’m happy the outcome came out the way that it because this is truly one of the better experiences you can have in this situation because it was a whole complete team effort.”

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