CHICAGO (AP) — Cole Hamels is facing a quick trip from the record book to the trading block.
The Philadelphia ace became the first pitcher to throw a no-hitter against the Chicago Cubs in 50 years, watching as rookie center fielder Odubel Herrera stumbled on the warning track before catching a flyball to end the Phillies’ 5-0 win Saturday.
“It’s something where you just go out there and enjoy the moment,” Hamels said. “What I want is to be successful at it. I enjoyed the moment and this happened.”
Hamels (6-7) struck out 13, tossing his first career no-hitter in what could be his final start for the Phillies. The 2008 World Series MVP has been mentioned prominently in trade talks as the July 31 deadline approaches.
It was the first no-hitter versus the Cubs since Sandy Koufax pitched a perfect game in 1965.
It also was the fourth no-hitter for catcher Carlos Ruiz, including the playoffs, according to STATS. That is the most in NL history and tied with Jason Varitek for the major league record.
Dexter Fowler walked twice for Chicago, but he was the only baserunner for the Cubs.
The 31-year-old Hamels was part of the Phillies’ last no-hitter, too. The lanky left-hander teamed with three relievers on a combined no-no last Sept. 1 at Atlanta.
This time, Hamels saw Herrera make two tumbling grabs to preserve the gem.
With one out in the eighth, Herrera ran a long way into the left-center field gap to grab David Ross’ fly and then spilled onto the warning track.
With two outs in the ninth, rookie Kris Bryant launched a long fly. Herrera raced back, slipped on the track in front of the ivy-covered brick wall, but managed to lean forward for the catch.
“I hung that pitch to Bryant with his power, fortunately the wind was in my favor,” Hamels said. “Herrera made two spectacular catches out there. That picked the team up and it’s great to see and it’s great to participate myself.”
Hamels’ teammates mobbed him near the mound after the final out. He threw 129 pitches on a warm afternoon.
The Phillies have the worst record in the majors, and several contending teams are interested in Hamels. They have until next Friday to make a trade before the deadline for non-waiver deals.
All the trade rumors seemed to be taking a toll on Hamels, who had struggled of late. He allowed 14 runs and 20 hits over 6 1-3 innings in his previous two starts.
But Hamels was in control right from the start on a picturesque day at Wrigley Field. He snapped a nine-game winless streak, which matched a career high.
“Just being able to pound the zone. That’s what I wanted to do today,” Hamels said. “I wasn’t doing it too well the last couple of games. I was able to get ahead and make them swing at bad pitches.”
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