ATLANTA -- Soon after graduating from suburban Philadelphia's Malvern Prep, Phil Gosselin found himself getting used to life at the University of Virginia and keeping up to date with his beloved Phillies, who were closing in on what would be the first of five consecutive National League East titles. One year later, he and his childhood friends would celebrate the dominance Cole Hamels showed during the 2008 World Series.
But on Monday afternoon at Turner Field, Gosselin found himself as just one of the many Braves who did not solve Hamels or any of the three Philadelphia relievers -- Jake Diekman, Ken Giles and Jonathan Papelbon -- who combined to throw a no-hittter in the Phillies' 7-0 win.
As fate would have it, Gosselin actually made the final out when he hit a soft liner that Darin Ruf gloved to complete the first combined no-hitter ever thrown by the Phillies. This also marked the first time more than one pitcher teamed to complete a no-hitter against the Braves.
"I grew up watching those guys. It's weird playing against them now and being a part of the no-hitter," Gosselin said. "It [stinks] being on this side of it, for sure."
The 11th combined no-hitter in Major League history simply extended the offensive woes experienced by the Braves, who have now totaled one run in their past 27 innings. They were fortunate that the lone run which came courtesy of an Evan Gattis solo homer was enough to celebrate a 1-0 win on Sunday against the Marlins.
"It's a feat that hasn't been done that often when you go with four combined pitchers to throw a no-hitter," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "But it's still just a loss."
When Randy Johnson tossed the first no-hitter in Turner Field on May 18, 2004, he was simply dominant as he worked his way toward a perfect game. When Ubaldo Jimenez notched the second no-hitter at this stadium in 2010, he was fortunate that his high early pitch count did not send him to the showers in early fashion.
Hamels really never had a chance to get his footing like Jimenez did more than four years ago. The Phillies lefty needed 60 pitches to get through the first three innings and his pitch count sat at 92 through five innings. He ended up totaling 108 pitches over six innings that included seven strikeouts and five walks.
"It seemed like against one guy he couldn't throw a strike, he'd be all over the place," Gosselin said. "And then against the next guy, he'd be boom, boom, boom and he's dotting up on you. So it was one of those effectively wild days where he had the good stuff and couldn't control it with everybody. But when he needed to, he was hitting his spots."
Hamels began his outing by issuing consecutive walks to Jason Heyward and Emilio Bonifacio. With Heyward and Bonifacio at second and third base and one out in the first inning, Hamels righted himself with a strikeout of Justin Upton. Chris Johnson then flied out to deep left field to end the inning.
"We were all out there trying to compete and battle," Upton said. "We obviously know we don't have any hits. But that's not what is on our mind. What's on our mind is we're just trying to win a ballgame. Later on, when we were down by five runs, we were trying to scrap some runs across."
After Hamels issued two more walks in the third inning, Johnson left runners stranded at second and third when his sinking liner to right field fell in the glove of a diving Marlon Byrd.
"I was just hoping it would get down," Johnson said. "He's a pretty good outfielder. The ball just stayed up a little bit. I tried to stay inside it and go the other way. I tried left field the at-bat before. So, I figured I'd try right. That didn't work either."
While it would certainly seem like the Braves did not want to be on the wrong side of history, Gonzalez still opted to pinch-hit Jose Constanza, who had just returned to the Majors a few hours earlier, for National League Most Valuable Player candidate Upton in the ninth inning.
Gonzalez said he believes the decision to give Constanza a chance to reacquaint himself with the pinch-hit role could prove beneficial later this month. In other words, he felt it was more important to prepare for winnable games down the stretch than to simply try to prevent Monday's combined no-hitter.
"I'm sure it's cool for them, but it's just a loss for us," Gonzalez said. "Tomorrow we'll come out and try to win a ballgame."