Phillies take opener against Braves behind stellar outing from Aaron Nola

Phillies win opener behind Aaron Nola
Aaron Nola has battled his share of adversity on the mound this season, but it seems now things are trending back towards his Cy Young-esque output from a year ago.

Nola had full command of his fastball on Tuesday, mowing through an impressive Atlanta lineup that is coming off a 20-win June, the most wins in a month for the organization in six years. He scattered four hits, struck out eight, and walked three while tossing a career-high 117 pitches in an impressive 2-0 win over the division-leading Braves at SunTrust Park.

"That's a big win tonight for us, especially over here against these guys," Nola told reporters afterward. "They've been playing really good this past month to month and a half. Winning the first game of a series is always big."

The win trimmed the Braves lead in the division to 4 1/2 games and marked just the second time all season the Braves have been shutout. Nola's fastball sat in the mid-90s for much of the night, and his location was nearly perfect as he worked both sides of the plate.

Nola has pitched extremely well over his last three starts, surrendering just one run over 24 innings. He's collected 28 strikeouts over that span while posting a 0.67 WHIP. His ERA on the season now sits at 3.89, the lowest it's been since Opening Day.



“He's looking really easy on the mound,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said afterward (see video). “Like, it's pretty effortless. I mean, there's a lot of energy going toward the plate. That's a key to his delivery. But, in addition to that, it looks like it's coming pretty easily.”

The Phillies scored two runs in the fourth as Jay Bruce laced a double down the right-field line to score Jean Segura and J.T. Realmuto. Hector Neris closed things out in the ninth with a dominant performance himself, striking out the side to record his 17th save of the season.

Dallas Keuchel pitched well for the Braves in his home debut, surrendering two runs on five hits over seven innings.

The two clubs resume their three-game set on Wednesday with righty Nick Pivetta squaring off against right-hander Bryse Wilson.
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BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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