Philadelphia Baseball Review - Phillies News, Rumors and Analysis
Aaron Nola
Aaron Nola stood in front of the television cameras outside the Phillies clubhouse drenched in champagne with a smile. He had just lifted Philadelphia to the National League Division Series with a stellar performance on the mound, sealing a series win over St. Louis. 

"Obviously, I knew what the stakes were," Nola said afterward. "I wanted to stay within myself and not try to do anything I haven't done all year and just pitch my game." 

Nola tossed 6 2/3 scoreless innings on Saturday, whiffing six and allowing just four hits and one walk. It was another dominant outing in a big game, proving the 29-year-old has what it takes to succeed when the spotlight is brightest. 

Phillies interim manager Rob Thomson agrees. 

"He's a big-game pitcher, that September doesn't matter anymore, that he's worth every penny," Thomson said. "I mean, he's really -- he's really something. He really is. He's cool as a cucumber, and just gives us great starts. He's so consistent. I just can't say enough about him." 

Bryce Harper hit a solo-shot in the second inning to give the Phillies an early lead. Kyle Schwarber delivered a sacrifice-fly in the fifth, scoring Alec Bohm to push the advantage to 2-0.

José Alvarado, Seranthony Domínguez and Zach Eflin pitched well out of the bullpen to preserve the victory. 

The Phillies now travel to Atlanta and will open the best-of-five NLDS on Tuesday. The club returns to Philadelphia for Game 3 on Friday, with a potential Game 4 set for Saturday. It'll mark the first time postseason baseball will be in Philadelphia since 2011. 

"They've been waiting a long time," Thomson said. "Eventually we're coming home, and we got those passionate fans that are going to be there on our side, and so there's a lot of people involved. The organization, the city, and our players, you know. A lot of these guys haven't been in this situation. And that's what I'm really proud about is that there's so many guys that have never played in the playoffs, and they played really well. You know, it's like the moment didn't get the best of them, and I'm happy about that." 

As for a Game 1 starter, Thomson hasn't made an official decision yet, though Ranger Suarez is the likely choice as he was schedule to pitch Game 3 of the Wild Card series if needed. 

"We haven't talked about it yet," Thomson said. "We're just trying to get through this now, and there's a bunch of champagne being poured on everybody right now. So we haven't had a time to have a meeting, but eventually we'll get there. But Suárez is lined up as the next starter, but that's not set in stone."
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Philadelphia Baseball Review - Phillies News, Rumors and Analysis