Karns' historic night lifts Rays past Phillies

Karns' historic night lifts Rays past Phillies

PHILADELPHIA -- Rays right-hander Nathan Karns provided the only blemish to Phillies right-hander Aaron Nola's highly anticipated big league debut Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park.

Karns hit a first-pitch fastball off Nola to left-center field for a solo home run in the third inning of a 1-0 victory. It would be plenty for the Rays, as Karns and the Rays' bullpen combined to allow just four hits in the shutout.

"Unique win, but we'll take as many of them as we can get," Rays manager Kevin Cash said.

Nola, who is the No. 28 prospect in baseball according to MLBPipeline.com, took the loss, but he left fans excited about the future with an impressive showing.

"It was pretty awesome to be out there to feel the energy from the fans," Nola said. "To pitch at this level is pretty amazing and a pretty good feeling tonight. I had a little bit of jitters in the first inning. But once I threw a few pitches, they were gone."

Nola lives up to hype: The Phillies are looking for a light at the end of the tunnel, and Nola offered one in his big league debut. He threw 88 pitches (59 strikes), throwing his fastball, curveball and changeup for strikes. If this is just a glimpse of Nola's potential, the Phillies will be very happy they selected him with the seventh overall pick of the 2014 Draft.

Nola's Major League debut

"I gave it everything I had out there," Nola said. "I was blessed for the opportunity to pitch here." More >

Karns goes deep: Karns' homer made him the second pitcher in Rays history to hit a home run. The Rays' right-hander joined Esteban Yan in the exclusive Tampa Bay club. For Karns, the blast was also the first hit of his Major League career. He was 0-for-2 this season and 0-for-3 in 2013 for the Nationals. Yan homered off Mets right-hander Bobby Jones in the second inning of a 15-5 Tampa Bay win on June 4, 2000. The home run brought the Rays' staff its first hit since Alex Cobb doubled at St. Louis on July 23, a period covering 23 at-bats.

Karns beats Phils with arm, bat

It was the first time since 1962 that a homer by an American League pitcher accounted for the game's only run. More >

Kiermaier dazzles in the field: Kevin Kiermaier brings his defense every night, as the Phillies would no doubt attest to after watching the Rays' center fielder Tuesday night. First, he gunned down Cody Asche trying to advance to third on Domonic Brown's single in the second. Kiermaier's encore came in the fifth when he dove to rob Cameron Rupp of a leadoff single.

Keirmaier's strong defense

"K.K.'s play was incredible, going toward right field, making the throw," Cash said. "That's a big part of why we won the ballgame."

Phillies' baserunning blunders: The Phillies might not have scored anyway, but Asche made the first out of the second inning at third base, trying to go from first to third on Brown's single to right. Odubel Herrera then bounced into an inning-ending double play in the fifth, when he simply stopped running to first base. Herrera remained in the game.

Loney starts double play

"Herrera didn't assume he was going to throw to second base," Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin said. "He kind of quit running. He's got to understand that's not the way you play." More >

"We'll trust those guys in any situation when we have a lead" -- Cash, on his bullpen, which pitched four scoreless innings

"You've got an American League pitcher up there, it's the first pitch of the inning. You're not going to try to trick anybody. I've known Nathan for a long time, and I can sit here and say a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then" -- Rupp, on Karns' homer run against Nola

Rays pitchers combined for their ninth shutout of the season. Their last came on July 11 against the Astros. It was their fifth shutout on the road.

The Phillies sold 8,500 tickets since Friday, when they announced Nola would make his debut. They sold 4,000 tickets Tuesday. Tuesday's crowd of 28,703 was the Phillies' largest crowd for a weeknight game (on a non-fireworks night) since May 14, when they had 29,205 for the final game of a series against the Pirates.

Rays: Jake Odorizzi (5-6, 2.80 ERA) will start after taking his sixth loss of the season Friday night in Toronto when he had a career-high-tying five walks. In addition, he allowed a season-high six earned runs and had a season low for strikeouts with one. He has not faced the Phillies, but he is 3-3 with a 3.51 ERA in seven career Interleague starts. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET on Wednesday.

Phillies: Rookie left-hander Adam Morgan (1-2, 3.91 ERA) hopes to continue his roll Wednesday at 1:05 p.m. ET. He has allowed two or fewer runs in three of his first four starts, and he has pitched more than six innings in two of his last three.

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Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.