By Joe Frisaro and Steve Wilaj
MLB.com |@JoeFrisaro |
MIAMI -- Promising Philadelphia rookie Aaron Nola threw a career-high eight scoreless innings and catcher Cameron Rupp provided a solo home run as the Phillies beat the Marlins, 2-0, on Sunday at Marlins Park to take three of four games in the series -- their first series win at Marlins Park since May 20-22, 2013. With the victory, Philadelphia moves into a tie with Miami at 50-74 at the bottom of the National League East.
The outing was the finest of Nola's young career. The Phillies' No. 2 ranked prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com, struck out six, walked two and surrendered just three hits in his seventh career start. Nola (4-1, 3.59 ERA) outdueled Marlins rookie Adam Conley (1-1, 4.88 ERA), who worked a career-high six innings and allowed just one run on three hits and four walks.
"I felt like I was getting ahead of guys and really pounding the strike zone and keeping the ball as low as possible to be a strike," Nola said. "I felt like I did that for the most part, and it led to ground balls and some pop flies."
Conley's lone blemish came in the third inning, when he gave up an Aaron Altherr sacrifice fly. Rupp then added insurance in the seventh inning with his fifth homer of the season, which came off Marlins reliever Chris Narveson.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Nola regains form: While Nola issued four walks in his last outing -- the most he has ever allowed in 29 Minor League and six big league starts -- he returned to form on Sunday by allowing just two, including one in his final frame.
"Over the course of the entire game, it was exceptional command," Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin said. "Their guy pitched well too. He was pretty impressive -- I liked him. But Nola's our guy and I like him better."
Said Miami manager Dan Jennings: "[Nola] has that sweeping breaking ball. He angles the ball, has life in the zone. He's got a good breaking ball that he commands. He commanded it all day." More >
White hot:Andres Blanco recorded his sixth hit of the series when he notched a double in the third inning that advanced Cesar Hernandez to third base. The two-bagger set up Altherr's sacrifice fly, which gave the Phillies a 1-0 lead.
Conley's finest start: The 25-year-old lefty's fourth MLB start turned out to be his best. Conley worked a career-most six innings and 106 pitches. It was a grind, as he topped 80 pitches in the fourth inning and allowed at least two baserunners in each of the second, third and fourth innings. But Conley was able to strike out five and work around a season-high four walks. The rookie is getting an extended look to see if he fits into the plans in 2016, and he took a step in the right direction. More >
Gordon's thumb scare: As if the Marlins don't have enough injury issues, they received a scare in the sixth inning when Dee Gordon appeared to jam his left thumb while being tagged out trying to steal second base. Gordon dislocated the same thumb on July 11, and he spent time on the disabled list. The All-Star second baseman is wearing a special brace on the hand. After he was tagged out, he walked into the tunnel with trainer Sean Cunningham. To the relief of Miami fans, Gordon came out to play defense in the seventh and finished the game.
"It wasn't even really a jam, it was more a stinger," Jennings said. "He's fine."
"These guys have grinded out some great at-bats. We had like [six of eight] games where we grinded out 10 or more hits, scored six or more runs, and then all of a sudden, it disappears. We'll be back at it tomorrow. We'll start a new series. Hopefully we can continue to get good starting pitching and put some runs up that will allow us to help." -- Jennings, on Miami's dry spell of scoring three runs in three straight losses following a recent hot streak
"It's been fun. I feel like there definitely is competition between us, but on the other side, we're still rooting for each other, trying to learn from each other." -- Nola, on the Phillies' young starting pitchers
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Four of Rupp's five homers this season have come in 11 August appearances. Before Sunday's solo blast -- which traveled a projected 369 feet down the right-field line, according to Statcast™ -- the 26-year-old catcher also hit homers on Aug. 1, 7 and 12. Additionally, each August homer has occurred in a Nola start.
WHAT'S NEXT Phillies:Adam Morgan (4-4, 3.92 ERA) goes for the Phillies as they open up a four-game series at Citizens Bank Park with the Mets on Monday at 7:05 p.m. ET. The lefty is coming off a win against Toronto on Wednesday in which he allowed two earned runs in seven innings.
Marlins:Tom Koehler (8-11, 4.02) opens the first of four games with the Pirates at Marlins Park on Monday at 7:10 p.m. ET. The right-hander is 0-5 (7.48) in his last five starts, but 4-3 (3.07) at home this year. Lefty J.A. Happ (1-1, 2.87) goes for Pittsburgh. Happ was traded to the Pirates from Seattle on July 31.
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. Steve Willaj is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.