A Philly-area native flirted with history at Citizens Bank Park today, as pitcher Dave Bush came within five outs of a no-hitter with his parents, season ticket-holders both, looking on. The problem, of course, was that he took the mound for the visiting Milwaukee Brewers, who took the rubber match of this three-game series with a 6-1 win.
The day started nicely for the rest of the home crowd, as Cole Hamels flashed his October 2008 form for the first time in the new season with six strikeouts through three innings. Featuring a fastball that reached 90 mph and a curve he located effectively, Hamels blitzed through the Brewers lineup until the fourth inning, when Cory Hart singled and Ryan Braun, who absolutely mauled Phils pitching in the series, followed with a home run to left. Prince Fielder lined Hamels' next offering off the pitcher's shoulder, the impact loud enough to be heard through the park. The Phils lifted their ace as a precautionary measure; initial reports indicated a shoulder contusion.
After J.A. Happ allowed three runs in the fifth inning to stretch the Milwaukee lead to 5-0, Bush became the story. He had hit Jimmy Rollins to lead off the game and Jayson Werth in the seventh, and issued walks in the third, fourth and fifth innings, but through seven innings he was on pace to no-hit the Phils in a full game for the first time since Bob Forsch did it in 1978. Leading off the eighth, Greg Dobbs fought off pitch after pitch before cueing a ball down the third-base line--but Bill Hall handled the chance and preserved the no-no with a spectacular throw across the diamond. Bush's bid ended with the next hitter, however, as Matt Stairs crushed a pitch just fair to right field for the Phils' only run of the day.
The Milwaukee starter finished with 7 2/3 innings, allowing two hits and three walks while striking out four.