May 14, 2006 7:46 AM

Hamels leaves impression

CINCINNATI — As good as Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels was while throwing five shutout innings of one-hit ball in his major-league debut Friday night, Cincinnati Reds slugger Adam Dunn joked that he expected even more.

“All you hear is this guy is going to be the next Cy Young,” Dunn said Saturday. “He's already in your mind the best player to step on the mound. Jeez, you can't help but hear it. This guy had an ERA of negative 7-something in the minors, right? He's got a zero ERA (after one big-league start) and it sounds like it went up. Put him in the Hall right now!”

Nevertheless, Dunn and several teammates admitted being impressed with Hamels, who no-hit the Reds until Felipe Dunn doubled with two outs in the fifth.

“There's no reason why he shouldn't be really good,” Dunn said.

Ken Griffey Jr., a childhood hero of Hamels, liked what he saw, too. But rather than pump up the 22-year-old left-hander, he called for Phillies fans and the Philadelphia media not to expect too much too soon.

“He's still young,” Griffey said. “You guys are putting so much pressure on him. Let him go out there and play and have some fun.”

Griffey didn't do much with Hamels, striking out twice and walking in three appearances.

“He had a little bit of an advantage the first time, but he threw the ball well,” Griffey said.

Although walking five to go with seven strikeouts in a 92-pitch outing, Hamels convinced the Phillies that he's for real.

“I wanted to see how he looked and how he would react,” manager Charlie Manuel said. “As long as I've been in the game, I've seen people react different in the minor leagues than in the big leagues. He passed the test. He kept his cool.”

After his big night, Hamels was spent. He hung out for a few minutes with his girlfriend, parents and a buddy, then went to bed and fell fast asleep.

“It's been tiring,” Hamels said. “I know the best thing for me is to get my rest, because that's the only way to recover. It was stressful having to get everything organized.”

Although not getting a win for his superb debut, Hamels has some keepsakes. He collected a bag of baseballs, which he plans to give to his family, and he was given Manuel's lineup card, which he will keep.