Aaron Nola looked incredible early Sunday, striking out six Cubs in a row from the first through third innings with a wicked curveball and a dancing two-seam fastball.
Then things unraveled.
Nola, for the first time since September of 2015, his rookie year, allowed three home runs in a game. He was taken deep by Daniel Murphy and Anthony Rizzo within the span of three batters, then Javier Baez launched one to left-center two innings later.
Nola had the second-lowest home run rate in the majors entering Sunday's game. He had allowed just four homers in 91 innings at Citizens Bank Park before the Murphy bomb.
"The way Nola came out firing, it kinda looked like we were going to see something historic today, the way he was getting after their hitters," manager Gabe Kapler said. "It turned into an 11-punchout game against the National League's best offense.
"In a couple ways, it was a really special performance from Nola. In others, you've got to tip your cap to their hitters."
This start will surely affect his Cy Young chances. Nola struck out 11 but allowed four runs in 5⅔ innings as his ERA jumped to 2.23. Jacob deGrom is at 1.68 and Max Scherzer is at 2.22 with 249 strikeouts.
The Phillies won 20 of Nola’s first 26 starts this season but have lost two in a row behind him for the first time all season.
It looks like Nola will have five more starts this season: Mets, Nationals, Mets, Braves, Braves again.
Scherzer (home vs. Cardinals) and deGrom (at Dodgers) both pitch Monday night.