Nola dominates; Phillies take over top spot in NL East

Aaron Nola demonstrated again on Saturday why he's quickly becoming recognized as one of baseball's best starting pitchers, shutting down a potent Toronto lineup en route to a Phillies 2-1 win at Citizens Bank Park.

Nola was brilliant, carrying a no-hitter into the seventh inning. He threw 113 pitches, surrendering just the one hit. He struck out 10.

"He continues to refine his arsenal," manager Gabe Kapler said afterward (see video). His curveball just seems to keep getting better. He knows how to mix his pitches. He was tremendous."

The victory, combined with an Atlanta loss in Boston, means the Phillies enter Sunday sitting atop the NL East division.

Maikel Franco gave the Phillies a 1-0 lead in the fifth inning with a solo-shot. Nick Williams hit the game-winner in the eighth as a pinch-hitter. He's now 9-for-19 with three homers coming off the bench.



Seranthony Dominguez, who has been dominant since his arrival earlier this month, tossed a perfect eighth and Luis Garcia closed things out in the ninth, becoming the fifth reliever this season to record a save.

The victory marks the latest the Phillies have held sole possession of first place in the division since the end of the 2011 season.

So, first place in late May? Yeah, it's important.

"It means a lot to the team, it means a lot to the clubhouse," said Kapler. "Don't let anybody tell you they're not paying attention to the standings in May. That's not true of any baseball man I've ever been around or baseball fan I've been around for that matter."

The two clubs conclude their three-game set Sunday with Nick Pivetta set to start for the Phillies. The Blue Jays counter with former Phillies' hurler J.A. Happ.
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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