Chicago (AFP) - Cole Hamels threw his first solo no-hitter, striking out 13 batters in the Philadelphia Phillies' 5-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.
Hamels threw 129 pitches over nine innings and allowed just two baserunners on walks as the Phillies won their third straight and seventh in eight games since the Major League Baseball All-Star break.
"It is one of the most special moments I have had," said the 2008 World Series Most Valuable Player Hamels. "It finally felt like it was clicking and I was able to just let things happen."
Hamels has been the subject of trade rumours of late and his no-hitter comes just six days before MLB's trade deadline.
Coming into Saturday's contest, the 31-year-old hurler was winless in his last nine starts, but there was no sign of his recent struggles in the way he pitched against the Cubs -- who had not been no-hit in five decades.
"I was just happy I was able to execute pitches in the first two innings," he said. "I have had a tough time in the past couple of weeks doing that.
"All I have been thinking about the last couple of days is to correct my pitching.
"When you are able to accomplish great feats in this game you have to stay humbled by them."
The game ended on a falling catch by Phillies rookie centre fielder Odubel Herrera on the warning track which touched off a celebration by Hamels' teammates in front of a crowd of 41,000.
It is the 13th no-hitter in Phillies' history and the first time the Cubs have been no-hit since Sandy Koufax's perfect game for the Los Angeles Dodgers in September 1965. The Cubs are said to be one of the teams looking at trying to land Hamels.
Hamels was part of a shared no-hitter last September when he combined with three relief pitchers to deny the Braves a hit in a 7-0 victory in Atlanta.
He says when you are in the middle of throwing a no-hitter there is no feeling like it.
- 'Game slows down' -
"It is nothing like you prepare for. The game kind of slows down and you are able to harness your adrenaline. I had a comfortable rhythm," he said.
Hamels declined to talk about the trade speculation.
"Right now I am wearing the Phillies' red and that is where I plan to play. It is out of my control," he said.
Chicago right-handed starter Jake Arrieta threw six innings as the Cubs lost their second straight.
Chicago's best chance to score happened in the sixth when Dexter Fowler walked with two out. He stole second but was left stranded when Hamels ended the inning with his ninth strikeout of the contest.
Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant sent a liner towards the ivy-covered wall in centre field for the final out of the game.
This is the third no-hitter in the majors this season. Washington's Max Scherzer no-hit Pittsburgh on June 20 and San Francisco Giants rookie Chris Heston no-hit the New York Mets on June 9.