All-Star Aaron Nola does literally everything in Phillies' win over Mets

All-Star Aaron Nola does literally everything in Phillies' win over Mets

Updated: 11:30 p.m.


NEW YORK — After a frustrating extra-inning loss in Game 1 of their doubleheader, the Phillies needed shutdown innings and timely hitting in Game 2 against the Mets.

All-Star Aaron Nola took it upon himself to provide both.

Nola was completely locked in on the mound, and his fifth-inning trip to the plate was the game's decisive at-bat. After Corey Oswalt intentionally walked Maikel Franco to load the bases, Nola doubled on the first pitch he saw to clear the bases.

As sharp as Nola looked from the first pitch he threw, you got the sense that was all the offense the Phillies would need. It was, with the Phils winning, 3-1.

Here's how much of a groove Nola was in. He faced 23 batters tonight and threw two strikes among the first three pitches to 19 of them ... and one of the only hitters he didn't get ahead of 0-2 or 1-2 made a first-pitch out.

"It's really easy [to play behind him]," Rhys Hoskins said. "When I was on the DL, I got to stand in on a couple of his bullpens. Obviously, I knew he was good before but just to watch the perfection that happened in his bullpens ... there's a lot more appreciation for what he does every time he steps on the mound. Every spot was hit, everything was sharp, there were no misses in the middle of the plate. That's why he's an All-Star. It's been fun to watch and I'm really glad he's on our team.

"He's been really, really good from Day 1 of his career. For him to finally get the recognition from across the league and maybe nationally that he deserves, it was cool to see. I'm happy for him as a teammate, I'm happy for him as a friend, nobody more deserving. The guy works his tail off every single day, he's got a routine like nobody I've ever seen."

From the first through seventh innings, Nola retired 18 consecutive hitters. After walking Michael Conforto with two outs in the seventh to break the streak, Nola struck out his 10th and final batter.

In all, Nola allowed one hit and one walk over seven shutout innings with 10 Ks. He improves to 12-2 with a 2.27 ERA, moving ahead of Max Scherzer (2.33).

It was Nola's double, though, that elicited the biggest reaction from the Phillies' dugout. Not just the biggest reaction of the game. The biggest reaction all season, according to Gabe Kapler.

"That was the moment in the dugout when I heard the loudest celebration of the year," the manager said. "His teammates were so happy for him. It was pretty special."

The Phillies and idle Braves are both 50-39. Barring any postponements this week, the Phils will enter the All-Star break with one more game played than the Braves, who are off again Thursday.

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Rhys Hoskins delivers again, says Tigers pitcher Matthew Boyd would look 'great' in red pinstripes

Rhys Hoskins delivers again, says Tigers pitcher Matthew Boyd would look 'great' in red pinstripes

DETROIT — They struck out 18 times.

They had one hit in nine chances with a runner in scoring position.

They went 12 straight innings without scoring a run.

Plenty went wrong for the Phillies on Tuesday night.

But plenty went right, too.

The Phils got a good start from Aaron Nola, great work from the bullpen, a huge defensive play late in the game and even the mostly anemic offense came up big in the 15th inning. Yes, the 15th inning. The Phils’ 3-2 win over the lowly Detroit Tigers in 15 innings left them at 53-48 for the season and scurrying back to the team hotel to sleep fast before Wednesday afternoon’s 1:10 first pitch (see observations).

Tuesday night’s game ended at 12:17 a.m.

But even at that hour, there was a lot of life in the clubhouse because a win is a win even when you have to work past midnight to beat the second-worst team in baseball.

“It definitely would have been a lot worse to go that long and lose,” said Nola, who pitched seven innings of two-run ball. “It’s a lot sweeter when you win a game like that. It was a good, all-around team win.”

The bullpen, led by Nick Pivetta’s 3 2/3 scoreless innings and five strikeouts, and Jose Alvarez’s strong work in the final two innings, accounted for eight scoreless innings.

“Any time you get pitching like we did, you want to win that game,” Rhys Hoskins said.

The Phillies’ offense remains a big concern. The team has scored just six runs in the last three games. If that famine continues, the Phils won’t stay in the playoff race.

Despite the poor offense, however, the Phils have won two straight one-run games in extra innings. Hoskins has knocked in the go-ahead run in both. He homered in the 11th to lead a 2-1 win in Pittsburgh on Sunday. He followed that with an RBI single in the 15th Tuesday night. The hit scored Scott Kingery, who had led off the frame with a triple after striking out four times earlier in the game.

“You’ve always got to want that next at-bat,” Hoskins said. “Props to Scott.”

The big hits by Kingery and Hoskins came moments after leftfielder Brad Miller, who had entered the game in the 12th, made the defensive play of the game, gunning down Nicholas Castellanos at the plate in the bottom of the 14th. Catcher J.T. Realmuto made a nice play to sweep back across the plate and get Castellanos as his hand was about to touch the plate. An inch either way and Castellanos scores and it’s game over, awful loss.

Instead …

“We didn’t have another chance,” Hoskins said. “I don’t know if people realize how tough that is, sitting for 12 innings then coming in and making a play like that. It was just outstanding.

Miller knew Castellanos would try to score from second on the hit by Brandon Dixon.

“What it is, midnight?” Miller said. “You have to send him. Luckily it was hit right at me and J.T. made a hell of a tag.”

Detroit’s pitching was pretty good, too. (Or was it that the Phillies’ offense was just that bad?) Tigers’ starter Matthew Boyd held the Phils to two runs over six innings. Both came on a two-run homer by Roman Quinn in the second inning. Boyd struck out eight. The lefty is one of the most coveted arms on the trade market and the Phillies are interested, along with many other clubs. Phils general manager Matt Klentak attended the game, but said his trip to Detroit was long planned and only coincidental with Boyd making the start.

“It’s a little overblown that Matt Klentak is in here to scout Matthew Boyd,” Klentak said before the game. “I think that is probably unfair to our scouts who scout these guys year round to think that I could come in and do something that they do. This trip has been planned since spring training. I’ll watch the game just like everybody else, but I am not here specifically to watch any [trade] targets or future targets.”

The Tigers have set a high price for Boyd — multiples of top, young talent — and the Phillies intend to be protective of their best prospects. So it seems like Boyd will end up somewhere else, though you never know. It did not appear Realmuto would be a Phillie last winter until he was.

“He’s got good stuff,” Hoskins said of Boyd. “I can see why he’s had the success he has.”

And how would he look in red pinstripes?

“I think he’d look great,” Hoskins said.

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Phillies 3, Tigers 2 (15 innings): Scott Kingery, Rhys Hoskins, Brad Miller and the bullpen save the day

Phillies 3, Tigers 2 (15 innings): Scott Kingery, Rhys Hoskins, Brad Miller and the bullpen save the day


DETROIT — On a night when they struck out 18 times and went 12 straight innings without scoring a run, the Phillies benefited from a lot of good pitching from starter Aaron Nola and the bullpen to pull out a 3-2 win over the Detroit Tigers in 15 innings Tuesday night at Comerica Park.

Scott Kingery led off the 15th with a triple off the right field wall and scored the go-ahead run on a base hit by Rhys Hoskins.

The Phils have scored just six runs in their last three games. They have managed to win two of those games on late hits by Hoskins.

Defense was huge in this win. Brad Miller, who entered the game late in left field, gunned down Nicholas Castellanos at the plate in the bottom of the 14th to keep the Phillies alive.

Nola pitched seven innings of two-run ball and the bullpen pitched eight shutout innings.

The Tigers have the second-worst record in the majors. They are 2-9 since the All-Star break. But they got a nice start from lefty Matthew Boyd and the bullpen put up a lot of zeroes against the Phillies’ mostly feeble offense.

The Phils were 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position before Hoskins’ hit in the 15th.

The start of the game was delayed 38 minutes by rain and it ended at 12:17 a.m.

The Phils are 53-48.

Nola impresses

Nola went seven innings and allowed just two runs, one of which was unearned after his own wild pitch.

He walked one but hit three batters. He struck out seven.

Boyd impresses

The Phillies got their first look at Detroit lefty Boyd. He is one of a handful of pitchers that the Phillies have trade interest in, though the Tigers’ price on him is extremely high.

Boyd pitched six innings, scattered five hits, struck out eight and left with the score tied, 2-2.

Boyd entered the game averaging 12 strikeouts per nine innings. He threw 101 pitches and got an impressive 19 swings and misses — seven on his fastball and 12 on his slider.

Pivetta impresses

Nick Pivetta pitched 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief and struck out five. Pivetta was recently demoted to the bullpen. He showed a good fastball and an excellent curveball. With the Phillies looking to hold on to prospects, someone like Pivetta could be used in a trade.

Big yard

Comerica Park is one of the biggest parks in baseball. It’s 420 feet to center and 345 feet down the left field line. The dimensions bit the Phillies in the top of the 12th inning when pinch-hitter Jean Segura and Kingery both hit balls to the wall. Both would have been homers in mostly every other park.

Quinn goes deep

With Segura out of the lineup and Kingery playing shortstop, manager Gabe Kapler used Roman Quinn in center field. Quinn has had a tough year. He entered the game with just six hits in 55 at-bats (.109). However, Quinn came up with a big hit when he crushed a two-run homer to left against Boyd in the second inning. Batting from the right side, Quinn leaned on an 0-1 fastball and hit it 434 feet to give the Phils a 2-1 lead.

Horrible inning

Clinging to a 2-1 lead, the Phillies had a horrible inning against Boyd in the sixth. With the help of two Detroit errors, the Phils put runners on second and third with no outs. Cesar Hernandez then popped up on the first pitch. The Tigers walked Maikel Franco intentionally and Boyd got Adam Haseley and Roman Quinn on infield pop outs as the Phils left the bases full. It was a nice threat and it went for naught. In the bottom of the inning, the Tigers tied the game on a pair of doubles against Nola.

Trade talk

Things could change, but at the moment, it doesn’t look like a big trade-deadline move is coming for the Phillies.

Health check

Reliever Tommy Hunter had surgery to repair an injured flexor tendon. He is out for the remainder of the season. He pitched in just five games this season. Hunter’s contract is up after this season.

Segura sat out with a bruised left heel.

Reliever David Robertson will throw to hitters for the second time in Florida on Wednesday. The Phillies are optimistic they could see Robertson in the next couple of weeks, if all continues to go well. He has been out since April with an elbow injury.

Up next

The quick, two-game series ends on Wednesday afternoon with Vince Velasquez (2-5, 4.87) pitching against Jordan Zimmermann (0-7, 7.51).

The Phils have an off day Thursday. They open a three-game series at home against division-leading Atlanta on Friday night. Kapler said Zach Eflin would start one of those games. Eflin complained of his body feeling heavy after his last start in Pittsburgh. Kapler was adamant Tuesday that Eflin was fine and completely healthy. “There’s no issue,” he said.

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