Aaron Nola continued to pitch like the Mayor of South Philadelphia and Rhys Hoskins belted another important home run in leading the Phillies to a 4-3 win over the Washington Nationals on Thursday night.
The win was the Phillies’ second in a row and it left them at 43-36, two games behind first-place Atlanta in the National League East. Washington (41-38) is four games back.
Citizens Bank Park was not as loud as it was the previous three nights when the New York Yankees were in town and the seats were filled. The crowd was just 25,020, but things did get pretty loud when Hoskins launched a two-run homer against Ryan Madson to give the Phils a three-run lead in the bottom of the seventh. And things got loud again when Nola struck out Bryce Harper for the first out in the top of the eighth inning.
Nola gave up just five hits and a run over 7 2/3 innings as he improved to 10-2 and lowered his ERA to 2.48 in 17 starts.
You will see him in the All-Star Game in a couple of weeks.
Nola is just one of seven Phillies pitchers in the last 20 years to reach 10 wins before July 1. The others: Cole Hamels (2012), Roy Halladay (2011), Eric Milton (2004), Vicente Padilla (2002), Paul Byrd (1999) and Curt Schilling (1999).
With the win, Nola improved to 7-0 in eight starts at home in 2018.
He is 21-12 in 37 career starts at Citizens Bank Park.
Nola out-pitched Washington’s Tanner Roark, who went six innings and gave up just two runs, one of which was unearned.
Nola walked Juan Soto with two outs in the eighth inning and manager Gabe Kapler went to Adam Morgan, who ended the frame on one pitch. Nola walked two batters on the night and struck out eight. He threw 114 pitches and got 23 called strikes and 15 swinging strikes. His four-seam fastball and curveball were both sharp.
Scott Kingery atoned for striking out with the bases loaded in the first inning when he lifted a sacrifice fly to center field in the third inning to give the Phils a 2-1 lead.
Hoskins extended the lead to 4-1 with his two-run homer in the seventh.
Since coming off the disabled list on June 9, Hoskins has seven homers and 20 RBIs in 18 games. The Phillies are 11-7 in those games.
Things got a little hairy in the ninth when Tommy Hunter allowed two hits and was charged with two runs, but rookie Seranthony Dominguez came on for the final two outs and his second save in as many nights.
• Reliever Pat Neshek will pitch an inning for Double A Reading on Friday night. He is recovering from shoulder and forearm injuries.