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Monday, July 18, 2016

Nola tosses six strong but Phillies fall in extras to Marlins

Aaron Nola entered Monday night riding a five-game streak of failing to pitch beyond the sixth inning. He also hadn't pitched in 15 days and was coming off a disastrous month of June with a 10.42 ERA.

"It's been a rough stretch," he said prior to the All-Star break. "I'm feeling good though so this will turn around."

If Monday is any indication it appears Nola is headed in the right direction. He tossed six scoreless innings, surrendering just two hits while collecting five strikeouts. He probably would have gone an inning longer if he hadn't been drilled in the right shoulder in the sixth inning on an Adeiny Hechavarria comebacker up the middle.

"It got him in fatty part of the arm," manager Pete Mackanin said. "He'll be fine. I didn't want that thing to tighten up in between innings and didn't want to take any chances, it just made sense to have him come out on a positive note."

Nola had thrown just 68 pitches, 45 for strikes.

The Phillies jumped ahead early with Odubel Herrera opening the contest with a leadoff double and eventually scoring on a Maikel Franco grounder to second base. Tommy Joseph added a solo homer in the seventh to push the advantage to 2-0. The Marlins, however, countered in the ninth and scored a pair of runs off closer Jeanmar Gomez to force extras. Martin Prado then launched a solo shot in the 11th inning to ultimately give the Marlins a 3-2 win.

Jose Fernandez put together an outstanding outing for the Marlins, tying a career-high with 14 strikeouts while surrendering two runs on four hits over 6 1/3 innings.

Despite the loss, the real story for the Phillies was Nola.

"He was outstanding," Mackanin said. "He was painting both sides of the plate and was keeping the ball down. He made a lot of great pitches, so it was great to see and very encouraging."

Franco made things interesting in the 11th when, with the Phillies down to their final out, he launched an A.J. Ramos pitch to within a foot of leaving the park in left-center to even the contest but Marcel Ozuna was there to seal the win for the Marlins.
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com