ATLANTA -- The bullpen and Marlon Byrd have been two of the bright spots in this dark Phillies season, so it was fitting they got to share in Monday’s no-hitter against the Braves.
Byrd made a diving catch on Chris Johnson’s sinking liner with two men in scoring position to end the third inning. It saved two runs. Little did anyone know at the time, but it saved the no-no, which was authored by Cole Hamels, Jake Diekman, Ken Giles and Jonathan Papelbon.
"It was nice I brought my glove because I didn't have my bat today,” said Byrd, who was 0 for 5 with three strikeouts in the 7-0 win (see game story).
"It was fun all the way around. You have to come out and battle every day. Today we got to enjoy a no-hitter."
Hamels pitched six innings, but walked five and hit a batter. He threw 108 pitches in six innings and understood when manager Ryne Sandberg went to the bullpen.
Diekman wasn’t aware the Braves did not have a hit until he glanced up at the scoreboard as he jogged in from the bullpen.
“I was looking up at the scoreboard because they normally have who is due up, and that’s the first time I realized it,” the lefty said. “And I was like, ‘All right.’”
Diekman struck out two of the three batters he faced.
Ken Giles, who has had a brilliant rookie season out of the bullpen, struck out the side in the eighth.
“I was hoping Cole would be able to finish it by himself, but it's always OK to ask for help once in a while,” Giles said. “It's a great thing to be a part of. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
The four pitchers appeared together on a dais in a postgame news conference. Three of them were outwardly elated. Papelbon, who loves to be different, went the straight-face route and pretended to be bored by it all.
“I pitched two no-hitters in high school,” he said.
Papelbon is an adrenaline junkie. He was asked if the adrenaline of protecting a no-hitter in a 7-0 game was similar to the adrenaline he feels protecting a close lead in a save situation.
“It was definitely different,” Papelbon said. “I didn't have the adrenaline that I would usually have today. Two day games in a row, so I'm a little bit tired today. I just went out there and tried to focus on location over velocity and do what I could to preserve the no-hitter.”
Giles threw just 15 pitches in the eighth inning. He could have gone two innings if needed, but Papelbon had pitched only once since Tuesday and was looking to get work.
“They called back down and asked if I wanted to still go out there, and I said, ‘Yeah, I want to have an opportunity to be a part of this,’“ Papelbon said.
So the bored-with-it-all-act was just that — an act.
“I think he just wants to lay in bed right now," Giles said of Papelbon.