"He struck out the side in the first after he walked the leadoff hitter and gave up a hit," catcher Cameron Rupp said. "And then he did the same thing again and again and again and again."
Not quite, but close. Nola only struck out the side once, but he finished with nine strikeouts. The Brewers had their leadoff hitter reach in two of the first three innings. They had a runner on base every inning against Nola.
"I told the infielders I was gonna give them a 1-2-3 inning one time," Nola said.
He didn't, but Nola still was impressive -- even if it didn't do any favors for his WHIP, which went up from 0.93 to 1.03. He'd previously ranked fourth in baseball in the department but fell out of the top 10 after Sunday's performance.
It's strange to see a pitcher go from hittable to dominant with the snap of a finger, but Nola accomplished that on Sunday. Some of the Brewers' hits came on mistake pitches, Nola said, but others were just good as pitches put in play. The right-hander bouncing back from each hit not to allow a run speaks to his poise on the mound.
"Nothing fazes him out there," Rupp said. "He's got a demeanor that he just knows he's going to get them out."
"He just never loses his composure," manager Pete Mackanin said. "First and second, one out. Second and third with two outs. You would never detect any panic or fear in him."
By putting runners on base each inning, Nola elevated his pitch count early. Mackanin -- in his one critic of his starting pitcher -- said he'd have liked to see Nola go one more inning, but "he had a few too many pitches."
Still, Nola made it through six shutout innings. That was good enough for him to record his ninth straight quality start and his 10th in 12 starts this season. Only Clayton Kershaw has more.
Evan Webeck is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.