Monday, July 3, 2017

Nola tosses seven, Phillies use long ball to down Pirates

Philadelphia hurler Aaron Nola
Aaron Nola pieced together one of best starts of his major league career on Monday night, keeping the Pirates offense in check through seven scoreless innings en route to a 4-0 Phillies win at Citizens Bank Park.

Nola threw 69 of his 99 pitches for strikes and struck out eight. He didn't allow a hit until the fifth inning and surrendered just four on the evening.

The Phillies relied on the long ball, as Freddy Galvis and Maikel Franco both hit two-run homers off Pirates' starter Ivan Nova. Nick Williams collected his first major league extra base-hit with a double in the sixth.

Joaquin Benoit and Hector Neris each pitched 1-2-3 innings in relief.

Nola is 4-2 with a 2.68 ERA over his last six starts dating back to June 6th in Atlanta. He's also tossed seven innings in each of his last three starts.

"I felt strong out there," Nola said. "I'm just trying to stick with my plan, stay healthy, and I've got one more start to go before the break gets here. Staying focused is a big thing for me right now."

With Monday's effort, Phillies starters have recorded a quality start in 11 of their last 15 games. Dating back to June 17th starters have posted a 3.26 ERA and allowed one earned run or none in seven starts.

"It helps the guys on the field and in the clubhouse," Nola said. "A little bit of success makes things feel easier."

The two clubs resume the four-game set on Tuesday with Mark Leiter Jr. on the bump for the Phillies. He'll be opposed by the Pirates' Jameson Taillon.

Baby On Board
Freddy Galvis was smiling in the clubhouse following the contest, still wearing a hospital bracelet. His wife gave birth to their second child at 5:53 A.M., a healthy baby girl named Nicole.

Given the circumstances, it's fitting he swung at a first pitch and deposited it into the seats in right to give the Phillies a 2-0 lead.

"I just tried to do one thing at a time," Galvis said. "I got a few hours sleep before I came here. After I saw everything was good I just tried to get here to help the team."

Galvis said he arrived at the hospital around 3:00 A.M. and left around 10 A.M. to catch a quick nap before coming to the park.

"Oh man," Nola said with smile when asked about Galvis and the day he had. "The guy is unbelievable, I wouldn't want anybody to be my shortstop other than that guy. He's been great for us and he's our leader, but what he did tonight was pretty cool."

Injury & Rehab Update
Manager Pete Mackanin said an MRI on Howie Kendrick's hamstring revealed a grade 1 strain. He'll be sidelined through the All-Star break ... Jerad Eickhoff is scheduled to make a rehab start Tuesday with double-A Reading.
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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