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.

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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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Wasted opportunities highlight Phillies' frustrating Game 1 loss

Wasted opportunities highlight Phillies' frustrating Game 1 loss

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NEW YORK — The Phillies couldn't cash in golden opportunities in the eighth and 10th innings of a tie game before falling to the Mets, 4-3, in Game 1 of Monday's doubleheader.

Wilmer Flores delivered the walk-off home run in the 10th inning, just one pitch after the Mets challenged thinking he had been hit by Victor Arano.

Arano took the loss. Seranthony Dominguez threw two perfect innings in the eighth and ninth. His 29 pitches likely make him unavailable tonight.

The Phillies are 49-39, a half-game behind the Braves for first place. Atlanta is off tonight and again Thursday.

Despite how bad the Mets have gotten, the Phils are just 20-42 against them since the start of 2015 and 9-22 at Citi Field. 

During that span, they've been out-homered by the Mets 108-50.

Wasted chances
Scott Kingery, Andrew Knapp and Maikel Franco worked consecutive one-out walks to load the bases in the eighth inning. Pinch-hitter Jesmuel Valentin forced Robert Gsellman into a full count before a strikeout and a Cesar Hernandez groundout ended the threat.

It was a very 2018 Phillies-like inning with all the pitches seen. However, in Valentin's at-bat, balls 1, 2 and 3 were all borderline strikes on the corners. 

In the 10th inning, the Phils had two on with nobody out and stranded both runners. 

In both innings, the nine-spot in the order made a key out, with Valentin failing to get a runner in from third and Dylan Cozens making the final out of the 10th.

These were spots where having one more capable bench bat could have helped the Phillies substantially. Aaron Altherr had pinch-hit earlier and Gabe Kapler wasn't about to use Jorge Alfaro off the bench with another game tonight, which left just Valentin and the whiff-prone Cozens in chances when a medium-deep fly ball or single could have won the game.

The Phillies went 2 for 13 with runners in scoring position and stranded 12 runners. Not gonna win many games like that.

Decent day for Eflin
Zach Eflin gave up a couple of hard-hit balls to Phillie-killer Asdrubal Cabrera but was otherwise effective, allowing three runs and just five base runners in five innings. Eflin retired seven of the final eight hitters he faced and exited with the game tied.

Since June 1, Eflin is 6-0 with a 2.32 ERA. The only NL starting pitchers over that stretch with a lower ERA in as many innings are Jacob deGrom and Jon Lester.

Monday was Eflin's 12th start of the season, which sets a new career high for him in the majors. He's 7-2 with a 3.15 ERA and 1.08 WHIP.

Walking the walk
Carlos Santana walked three more times in Game 1 Monday, giving him 71 on the season.

The only other major-leaguers with 70 walks this season are Mike Trout and Bryce Harper.

Santana has 22 more walks than strikeouts, by far the best ratio of any player in either league. 

And for the "Yeah but he stinks, he's hitting .217" crowd, consider this: Santana has more extra-base hits (32) than Joey Votto, as many RBI (51) as Paul Goldschmidt and a higher on-base percentage (.363) than Anthony Rizzo. 

Franco on a roll
Franco homered to left-center in the fourth, delivered an opposite-field single in the sixth and worked an eight-pitch walk to load the bases in the eighth. 

Franco is up to .273/.320/.458 on the season. Trade target Mike Moustakas, who plays the same position, is hitting .254/.309/.468.

Since June 17, Franco is 22 for 59 (.373) with six doubles, three homers and nine RBI. He's raised his OPS from .689 to .779.

Biggest Phillie-killer going?
Cabrera has just destroyed the Phillies since signing with the Mets prior to 2016.

In 41 games against the Phils over that span, Cabrera has hit .392 with 14 doubles, 11 home runs and 32 RBI. He accounted for the Mets' first and third runs in Game 1 of Monday's doubleheader, with a solo home run in the first inning and a two-out RBI double in the third off Eflin.

Luckily for the Phils, they might not have to worry about Cabrera much longer. He's one of the players the Mets are likely to trade before July 31.

Up next
The second part of today's doubleheader pits All-Star Aaron Nola (11-2, 2.41) vs. 24-year-old Mets rookie right-hander Corey Oswalt (0-1, 7.94).

No relation to Roy Oswalt.

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