Nola Shines As Phillies Stay Hot, Beat Braves 3-1

ATLANTA (AP) — Aaron Nola wasn’t satisfied with becoming the first Phillies pitcher to last eight innings this season.

Nola tried to convince manager Pete Mackanin to leave him in the game for the ninth. That goal for a complete game will have to wait.

Nola allowed a run over eight innings, Odubel Herrera doubled in the go-ahead run in the sixth and Philadelphia survived a ninth-inning scare to beat the Atlanta Braves 3-1 on Tuesday night.

Nola (3-3) earned his first win since April 20.

“It was great to see somebody go eight innings,” Mackanin said. “He begged me to go out in the ninth.”

The win followed a meeting with Mackanin, pitching coach Bob McClure and right-hander Jerad Eickhoff in Philadelphia before the trip to Atlanta.

“I just wanted to pose them a challenge to say you’re better than this,” Mackanin said. “We know you’re better than this. Start doing it.”

The pep talk helped Nola snap a personal three-game losing streak.

“Of course I wanted (the complete game),” Nola said. “That’s their decision. But overall I felt good. It was a good bounce-back for me.”

The Phillies have won four straight and are 5-0 against the Braves this season, including a three-game sweep at Philadelphia on April 21-23.

Howie Kendrick had three hits, including a homer in the fourth.

Hector Neris gave up one-out singles to Matt Kemp and Matt Adams in the ninth. Pat Neshek struck out Adonis Garcia and ended the game on Kurt Suzuki’s popup to catcher Cameron Rupp for his first save .

By winning their first two games at SunTrust Park, Philadelphia took back-to-back road wins for the first time this season.

Nola gave up five hits. His eight innings matched the longest start of his career.

“He was changing speeds and the breaking ball kept breaking and he had a decent changeup,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said.

Cesar Hernandez led off the sixth with a double to left off Jaime Garcia (2-4) and scored on Herrera’s double to the right field corner for a 2-1 lead.

Herrera moved to third on Kendrick’s single to right and scored on Garcia’s balk with Tommy Joseph at the plate.

Earlier in the day, Phillies Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt drew criticism for saying in an interview on 94 WIP-FM that Herrera’s language barrier prevents him from being a player the Phillies can build their team around. Schmidt later clarified his remarks in a statement.

“All I said was the language barrier he has now would make it difficult to be a team leader,” Schmidt told The Associated Press. “In the future when he learns to communicate better, he can be anything he wants.”

The 25-year-old Herrera speaks to reporters through an interpreter and isn’t as comfortable doing interviews as some of his Spanish-speaking teammates. Freddy Galvis, a fellow Venezuelan, is the team’s clubhouse leader.

Garcia allowed three runs and eight hits in 7 2/3 innings. The left-hander retired 11 consecutive batters to open the game before Kendrick’s two-out homer in the fourth tied it at 1. Kendrick’s homer, only his second, landed about three rows deep in the left-center seats.

The Braves scored a first-inning run when Brandon Phillips doubled and scored on a single to left field by Nick Markakis. Kendrick’s throw from left field was up the first-base line, preventing a possible play at the plate.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Braves IF Sean Rodriguez took ground balls in the outfield before batting practice in his first return to baseball activities since offseason shoulder surgery. Rodriguez had been considered a longshot to return this season.

CLOSER CONTROVERSY?

Mackanin said he was not ready to announce Neshek would take the closer’s role from Neris. Mackanin said Neris is struggling with his splitter. “It doesn’t have the same action he had last year and we’ve got to figure that out,” he said.

DL FOR BARTOLO

The Braves placed struggling right-hander Bartolo Colon on the 10-day disabled list with a strain in his left side. The team recalled right-hander Jason Hursh from Double-A Mississippi. Hursh pitched a scoreless ninth inning.

DOUBLE FOR ODUBEL

Herrera’s last nine hits have been for extra bases. He was 1 for 4, ending his streak of three straight games with two doubles, including two straight with two doubles and a homer. He has 19 doubles. He began the night one double behind Colorado’s Nolan Arenado for the most in the majors.

UP NEXT

Phillies: Eickhoff (0-6) will look for his first win of the season in Wednesday night’s game. Eickhoff is 0-2 with a 7.07 ERA in his last three starts.

Braves: RHP Mike Foltynewicz is 2-1 with a 4.68 ERA in five career games, including four starts, against the Phillies. He allowed one run in seven innings and did not receive a decision in Atlanta’s 5-2 loss at Philadelphia on April 23.

 

(Copyright 2017 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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