PHILADELPHIA -- Aaron Nola pitched masterfully for seven innings, but the Phillies literally had to hang on in the ninth inning to secure their 4-3 victory over the Reds on Saturday. The game ended on a double play where Eugenio Suarez tagged up on a fly ball and collided with catcher Cameron Rupp as the throw came to the plate.
The Phillies continued their recent dominance by taking the first two games of the series, and are 9-0-1 in home series vs. Cincinnati since 2006.
Nola gave up two runs (one earned) with five hits, one walk and nine strikeouts. It was a 1-1 game in the fifth inning when the Phillies scored two runs against Tim Adleman. Tyler Goeddel hit a single through the middle, followed by Nola drawing a full-count walk. After a Peter Bourjos sacrifice, Odubel Herrera shot a hard RBI single through the middle and Cesar Hernandez pulled a roller through the right side that scored Nola for a 3-1 Phillies lead.
Adleman was pulled after 67 pitches over five innings, with three runs, eight hits, two walks and three strikeouts.
"I think I was a little out of sync early on, especially that fifth inning," Adleman said. "The first three innings turned out. Somebody told me I had 25 pitches and only four balls. I got a couple of double plays, the defense played good behind me. A couple of walks here and there and tough luck on a couple of the groundballs. You look up at the scoreboard and it's 3-1."
Philadelphia added a run on Herrera's solo homer to right field against JC Ramirez in the seventh. The ball landed in the first row of seats as a fan reached out and it took a crew chief review before it was determined that the call stands.
The game ended in wild fashion. After Adam Duvall's RBI double in the ninth put the Reds down by a run, pinch-hitter Jordan Pacheco lifted a one-out fly ball to left field that was caught by Goeddel. After Suarez tagged up, Goeddel made a perfect throw to the plate. Suarez lowered his shoulder and barreled into Rupp as he caught the ball. He was able to hold onto the ball and make the tag. The Reds challenged, questioning whether Rupp violated Rule 7.13 by blocking the plate. Upon replay review, the call was confirmed and the game was over.
"I think they got it right," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "We challenged it simply because you have to take a look at it. We can't tell from there what was going on there from our vantage point. We did the right thing and we had them take a look at it. It validated that the umpires got it right. That isn't really what cost us the ballgame tonight."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Nola pulls a Houdini: Nola loaded the bases with nobody out in the top of the first on singles by Zack Cozart and Jose Peraza and a walk to Joey Votto, but got out of the inning allowing just one run. Nola has allowed six first-inning runs in eight starts this season for a 6.75 earned run average in that inning.
"Nola was fantastic after his first inning," said manager Pete Mackanin. "I won't say he struggled. He just gave them a couple pitches to hit. After that he was outstanding. If it wasn't for the error I probably would have sent him out for the next inning. But he was great."
The 22-year-old ended up pitching seven innings and allowing just one earned run.
Let's go to Plan B: The Phillies beat the Reds Friday night in part because of a safety squeeze by pitcher Jeremy Hellickson. They won again Saturday night partly because Nola didn't get a bunt down with a runner on first and nobody out and the score tied in the fifth. Instead he walked and the Phillies went on score two runs and take a lead they never relinquished.
"The big at-bat of the night was Nola's walk," manager Pete Mackanin said. "Then Bourjos laid down a nice bunt. That was huge."
Reds get close, can't cash in: The Reds trailed by two runs in the top of the seventh when Brandon Phillips led off with a single. Jay Bruce followed with squib in front of the plate, but Rupp's error throw into center field put runners on the corners. Duvall came through with a one-out RBI double down the left field line that scored Phillips. Nola rebounded nicely by striking out Tucker Barnhart and pinch-hitter Ramon Cabrera to preserve his lead.
"We had three walks as a team, seven hits. Not a lot of offense," Price said. "When we did have some opportunities, we weren't able to cash in." More >
Somsen debuts: Reliever Layne Somsen pitched for the Reds in the bottom of the eighth and worked a scoreless inning with a two-out single that rolled through the middle from Rupp. Somsen, who was called up for the second time this season on Monday, is the fifth Reds player to make his Major League debut this season.
"It didn't feel good. My legs rolled up underneath me. I just wanted to recoup and lay there. Whatever. I don't know what was going through my head, honestly." -- Rupp, on the game-ending double play and home-plate collision with Suarez
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Adleman was 0-for-2 at the plate on Saturday, continuing a trend for the pitching staff. With the exception of Brandon Finnegan (5-for-16 this season), Reds pitchers are a combined 0-for-48 this season.
The Phillies are 22-15. Last season they didn't win their 22nd game until June 7 (22-36).
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
In the fourth inning after it initially appeared that Hernandez stole second base and was ruled safe, the Reds challenged umpire Ramon De Jesus' call. Upon the replay review, Phillips tagged Hernandez on the helmet before he touched the base and the call was overturned for the first out.
WHAT'S NEXT Reds: For the series finale at 1:35 p.m. ET on Sunday, the Reds will be starting Dan Straily. Dependable as a starter since joining the rotation, Straily has a 3.54 ERA over five starts this season.
Phillies: Left-hander Adam Morgan will be attempting to build on his first quality start of the season, May 10 at Atlanta, when he faces the Reds in the series finale Sunday at Citizens Bank Park. Morgan is 1-0 with a 3.94 ERA in three big league starts this season.