MILWAUKEE -- Maikel Franco homered twice and Aaron Nola pitched a seven-inning gem in the Phillies' 5-2 win over the Brewers at Miller Park on Friday night.
Nola became the second right-hander in as many days to all but shut down the Brewers' offense. He retired 11 consecutive batters from the second inning to the sixth, one shy of Ricky Nolasco's best stretch in a Twins win Thursday, and earned his first victory of the season by holding the Brewers to one run on four hits with seven strikeouts. With 30 strikeouts this season, Nola is tied with Clayton Kershaw for the National League lead, trailing only Boston's David Price (32) in the Majors.
"I was a little concerned in the first inning," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "Nola looked a little shaky at first, then he settled down. He started pitching inside a little more, which made a big difference for him."
The Phillies erased a 1-0 deficit with Darin Ruf's shift-beating single in the fourth inning against Brewers starter Zach Davies, then took the lead with a three-run fifth. Freddy Galvis hit a go-ahead RBI triple before Franco connected against Davies for a two-run home run. Franco homered again in the seventh off Chris Capuano, a 426-footer that left his bat at 105 mph, according to Statcast™.
"We've got some starters that are learning on the fly here, so we're working on it," Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy said. "We're trying to get better every day. Sometimes we're going to make some mistakes and are going to get beat. We have to minimize those mistakes and learn every day and not worry about any of the other stuff."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Franco finally connects: Franco stepped into the batter's box in the fifth inning in a 4-for-32 slump. But he hit a 1-0 curveball from Davies over the left-field wall for a two-run homer to make it 4-1, and he hit a solo homer to left-center against Capuano in the seventh to make it 5-1. They were Franco's third and fourth homers of the season, and the second multihomer game of his career.
"I've been in a tough slump," Franco said. "I know it's going to happen. Every single day you're not going to feel good. When you're in a tough moment like that, you have to stay positive and continue to work hard." More >
Another RBI for Carter: Ten of Chris Carter's first 14 Brewers hits are for extra bases, including his ninth-inning double on Friday. But he also contributed with a soft single in the first inning for a 1-0 Milwaukee lead and Carter's 14th RBI, tops on the team. He is hitting .259/.328/.593 after 16 games, way up in all categories from last season in Houston.
"He's done an excellent job with men in scoring position, he really has," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "Just picking his spots. When he gets mistakes, he's putting them in play and putting them in play hard."
Nola back to form: Nola allowed a career-high seven runs in his last start Saturday against the Nationals. But after he allowed a run in the first inning to the Brewers, he settled. Nola allowed four hits, one run, two walks and struck out seven in seven innings. After he allowed a two-out single to Domingo Santana in the second, he retired 16 of the final 17 batters he faced.
"After the last outing, I felt I really needed to command the baseball inside a lot more," Nola said. "After the first couple innings, I felt like I got more comfortable throwing inside to lefties and righties, especially to lefties tonight. So I think that kind of opened a little more stuff up tonight." More >
Not so fast: Lucroy helped out his scuffling starter by throwing out David Lough trying to steal second base in the second inning, and Cesar Hernandez trying the same in the third. The Phillies did log a stolen base in the fifth, but Lucroy improved to 7-for-20 (35 percent) in catching would-be basestealers this season, a rate that would represent a career best.
"They're giving me a chance to throw people out," Lucroy said of Milwaukee's pitchers. "They're holding runners, getting the ball quick enough to home plate that a guy can't get a huge jump. It helps catchers out when that happens. Davies is really good at that, and he did a good job of that tonight."
"I remember his last outing last year. I took him out early in the fifth or sixth inning. I told him, 'We're going to baby you this year. But next year, we're not going to baby you.'" -- Mackanin, on letting Nola throw a career-high 105 pitches and having him pitch seven innings for the third time in four starts
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Brewers have the fewest quality starts (four) in the NL, including Jimmy Nelson's three. Only the Orioles, with three in the potent American League East, have fewer quality starts so far.
The three runs the Phillies scored in the fifth inning were a season high. They had not scored three or more runs in an inning since they scored four in the seventh inning Oct. 4, 2015, against the Marlins.
WHAT'S NEXT Phillies: Phillies right-hander Charlie Morton makes his 15th career start against the Brewers on Saturday night at 8:10 p.m. ET at Miller Park. The former Pirates hurler is 4-7 with a 4.17 ERA against Milwaukee. He is 1-3 with a 5.06 ERA in six career starts at Miller Park.
Brewers:Chase Anderson will aim to rebound from an 11-hit outing at Minnesota when he takes the mound against the Phillies at 7:10 p.m. CT on Saturday. Anderson did not surrender a single earned run in his first two Brewers starts before the Twins touched him for five runs (four earned) in five innings at Target Field.