It was long, strange, hitless day for Braves

It wasn’t the strangest no-hitter this writer has covered, as I was there when A.J. Burnett walked nine and hit a batter in his no-hitter for the Marlins at San Diego on May 12, 2001.

But otherwise, Cole Hamels and three Phillies relievers tossing a no-hitter against the Braves on Monday, when Hamels walked the first two batters in the first inning, hit the first batter in the second inning with a pitch, and walked the leadoff batter again in the third inning, would rank as the most unusual no-hitter of the five that I’ve witnessed.

On Monday, the Braves had two in scoring position with one out in the first inning, after a double steal, and failed to score. They had two on with one out in the second inning, again after two walks, and failed to score.

They let Hamels off the hook repeatedly in the first three innings, and once he got into a groove the Braves didn’t come close to scoring again. By the time the Philly bullpen took over after six innings (and 108 pitches by Hamels), Braves hitters were going down quickly and in order.

It was the first combined no-hitter in Phillies franchise history and the first combined no-hitter the Braves franchise ever had thrown against them, and these are franchises that began plate in the late 1800s. It was the 12th no-hitter thrown by the Phillies, and the first by someone other than Roy Halladay since ex-Brave Kevin Millwood threw one for Philadelphia in 2003. (Halladay threw two in 2010 – one during the regular season and one in the National League Championship Series against the Reds.)

The Braves have had 14 no-hitters thrown against them in all, including seven since the team moved to Atlanta in 1966.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, it was the first no-hitter with at least 12 strikeouts and five walks in 40 years, since Nolan Ryan’s 15-strikeout, eight-walk no-hitter against the Twin in 1974.

Elias noted that Jason Heyward’s three stolen bases were the most in the modern era (since 1900) by a player whose team was no-hit; the only other player who had as many as two was Frank Chance more than a century ago, in 1903.

ESPN’s Jayson Stark noted that Ben Revere became just the fifth player to ever have five or more RBIs in a no-hitter, and this after he’d only had one five-RBI month all season.

By the way, Revere has become an improbable Braves nemesis, hitting .343 (24-for-70) in 18 games against Atlanta over the past two seasons, with two doubles, three triples, nine RBIs and five stolen bases.

Another oddity from Monday: It marked just the 16th time in the past 20 years that a starting pitcher left a game after throwing at least six no-hit innings (including the Braves’ Aaron Harang, who did it earlier this season), and only the second time that the bullpen was able to complete the no-hitter.

The previous time that happened also involved Millwood, who was with the Mariners when he combined with five relievers for a no-hitter in a 1-0 win against the Dodgers on June 8, 2012. Millwood left with a groin strain after throwing 68 pitches in six innings.

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