Phillies take over first place with 2-1 win over Blue Jays, stellar outing from Aaron Nola
Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Aaron Nola throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays, Saturday, May 26, 2018, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Derik Hamilton)
The Philadelphia Phillies are in first place.
Right-hander Aaron Nola took a no-hitter into the seventh inning, Nick Williams hit a pinch-hit home run and the Phillies took down the Toronto Blue Jays, 2-1, at Citizens Bank Park on Saturday evening.
Philadelphia entered Saturday trailing Atlanta by a half-game in the NL East. The Braves lost at Boston, 8-6, which brought the two teams into a tie. Then the Phillies won, which thrust them into sole possession of first place. Philadelphia hasn’t been alone in first place this late in the season since the last day of the 2011 season when the Phils won 102 games.
It’s only Memorial Day Weekend, but the Phillies are 29-20 and in first place.
Nola didn’t earn the victory — young stud reliever Seranthony Dominguez (1-0) earned his first career victory in relief — but the righty from Louisiana was at his best. He held the Blue Jays hitless for the first 6 2/3, yielding only a walk in the first inning and two more in the seventh.
Meanwhile, the Phillies took a 1-0 lead in the fifth when third baseman Maikel Franco homered to left field off Jaime Garcia. Franco was 2 for 3 on the day, and the homer was his eighth of the year. He raised his batting average to .263.
But Toronto was able to even things out in the seventh. After Nola issued two walks, Russell Martin delivered with a single through the left side to tie the game, 1-1. Nola exited after, and Dominguez got the final out.
Nola struck out 10, including the side in the sixth, for his second double-digit strikeout game of the season. It’s the fourth time in his career he’s struck out at least 10.
.@AaronNola027’s got it working in Philly.
He’s through 6 no-hit frames vs. the Blue Jays with 10 Ks. [?] pic.twitter.com/gknIzdHmPx
— MLB (@MLB) May 26, 2018
The tie didn’t last too long, though. Williams continued his timely hitting with his third pinch-hit home run of the season. According to NBC Sports Philadelphia, Williams is 9 for 19 as a pinch-hitter this season with four extra-base hits and eight RBI.
The Phillies and Blue Jays square off Sunday the series rubber match, with Nick Pivetta slated to start against former Phillie J.A. Happ. Then, the Phillies depart for a 10-game road trip, which includes seven games on the West Coast.
With another win, the Phillies could leave home with first place still in hand.