SAN DIEGO — The Phillies’ offense awakened from a two-game slumber and joined Aaron Nola in beating the San Diego Padres, 5-1, Saturday night.
The victory improved the Phillies to 65-51. They are a game up on Atlanta for first-place in the NL East. Atlanta lost its game at Milwaukee.
Five games into a six-game trip through the Southwest, the Phillies are 2-3. With a win Sunday, they can go .500 on the trip. A victory would also match last season’s win total of 66 — and there are still 46 games to play.
The Phillies entered Saturday night’s game in the throes of a 19-inning scoring drought. They quickly broke that with a pair of runs against San Diego rookie Walker Lockett in the first inning. Cesar Hernandez led off the game with a walk and scored on a triple by Nick Williams. Two batters later, Asdrubal Cabrera stroked an RBI double and the Phils were on their way.
Maikel Franco (No. 19) homered in the fourth and Hernandez (No. 10) clubbed one in the fifth to highlight a two-run inning. Rhys Hoskins singled and scored the second run in that inning. The hit snapped an 0-for-22 skid for Hoskins.
The four extra-base hits in the first five innings were as many as the Phils had in the first four games of the trip. They scored just seven runs in the first four games.
Nola pitched six shutout innings and scattered three singles and a double. He walked three and struck out five. He is 13-3 in 24 starts and has a 2.28 ERA. He entered the game with the sixth-best ERA in the majors.
Nola’s command was not at its best, especially early in the game, and that caused his pitch count to rise to 95 in six innings. But the right-hander was tough with men on base. He stranded six runners in the first three innings.
Nola has been brilliant on the road lately. He has allowed just five earned runs over 33 innings in his last five starts away from Citizens Bank Park.
The Phillies’ bullpen picked up three innings and allowed just one run after Nola left.
Seranthony Dominguez pitched a scoreless ninth inning in his first work since blowing a save at Arizona on Monday night. Dominguez’ velocity was down a tick in that game. He was pretty firm in this outing with a fastball that consistently registered 97-98 mph. He struck out Eric Hosmer looking at a 97-mph heater to end the game.