Aaron Nola was dominant for the Phillies
Aaron Nola has heard the murmurs about how he is not a legitimate ace deserving of a spot at the top of a starting rotation. He knows his name is not synonymous with top-tier starters, but he will never bring attention that omitting his name from such a list is a significant oversight. Instead, he will let outings like Sunday's complete-game shutout make the argument. 

Nola's two-hit, ten-strikeout performance in a 2-0 win at Citizens Bank Park over the Cardinals was arguably the best start of his career. 

“If you look at Nola the last three or four years, I don’t know how you could possibly say he’s not an ace,” said Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto. “He’s been a Top 10 pitcher in baseball so I’m not sure how that would be considered not an ace. If that was me, that would certainly fuel my fire. 

“I would say it’s people outside of the game of baseball who view it that way. People in the clubhouse and people on the field know that he’s an ace, on this team and other teams. Just look at the guy’s resume. I’m not really sure where that comes from but it’s not from people who know baseball.” 

Nola pushed the Cardinals to 11 '0-2' counts at the plate. He came out in the ninth having thrown 102 pitches before retiring the middle of the Cards lineup to secure the win. Moments later, he was drenched standing in the dugout. 

"It kind of went by quicker than I thought," Nola said. "Fans were loud in the ninth inning, that was pretty cool. Great win, great series win. ... First Gatorade shower I’ve ever had, surprisingly." 

Since 2018, Nola is 35-19 with a 3.08 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. He may not be vocal, but his figures on the mound are deserving of more respect. 

Bryce Harper, who sat out Saturday with back stiffness, cracked a solo shot in the opening frame to give the Phils an early lead. He finished the day 3-for-3 and reached base four times. 

"Stud, man, solid rip by Harp," Nola said. "We’ve seen it time and time again from him. That was a great way to start the game off." 

The Phillies now welcome the Giants for a three-game set as former skipper Gabe Kapler returns to town. Chase Anderson will start Monday's series opener. The Giants will counter with Kevin Gausman.
Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

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