Nola bears down in key moments to stifle Tigers

Nola bears down in key moments to stifle Tigers

DETROIT -- Aaron Nola improved his record to 4-3 on the season behind six strikeouts on Wednesday in the Phillies' 8-5 win over the Tigers.

Nola's curveball was working well for him, as he got five of his six strikeouts with it. He started the game by striking out the side in the first inning, all of them coming on the curve. He said the first inning gave him confidence for the rest of the game.

"I knew after I struck the side out there in the first, I had to bear down more, because I felt like I needed to make better pitches after that inning," Nola said. "After the first couple of innings, I felt like my ball was kind of leaking over the plate and I was kind of yanking my fastball away to righties."

Nola said he left some breaking balls over the middle of the plate, which led to good swings from the Tigers' powerful lineup.

Nola surrendered three runs on five hits in the fifth inning, all of which were singles.

"After that, I really kind of tried to forget about that and go out there in the sixth inning and put a zero on the board," Nola said.

He was able to do that, getting the Tigers out in order on seven pitches. Manager Pete Mackanin said Detroit's bottom of the order was trouble for the Phillies on Wednesday, especially in the fifth. But he thought Nola did a great job against Miguel Cabrera in that inning, breaking his bat and inducing a infield popup.

That at-bat helped lessen a big Detroit threat, as Victor Martinez came to the plate with two outs and one runner in scoring position, instead of Cabrera breaking it open and potentially ending Nola's day.

"Aaron Nola is a good pitcher, and he made some mistakes in that fifth inning, but he can also make a lot quality pitches, and he did to a pretty darn good hitter," Mackanin said.

Kyle Beery is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.