Pivetta battles nerves in solid 1st MLB start

Phils No. 12 prospect gives up 2 early runs, then makes it through 5 innings

Pivetta battles nerves in solid 1st MLB start

LOS ANGELES -- Nick Pivetta felt every kind of nerve stepping onto the mound to make his big league debut in the bottom of the first inning Sunday afternoon at Dodger Stadium.

It got the best of him early, but he grinded through five innings in a 5-3 loss to the Dodgers. He allowed nine hits, two runs, one walk, one home run and struck out five. He worked through a lot of trouble, but he limited the damage.

"It was all nerves," Pivetta said. "It was, 'Holy cow. I'm here. Now let's focus and do what you've been doing to get yourself here.' It was hard to differentiate those two things, but once I got into that fourth, fifth inning, it was good. I was good again. I was able to get ahead of hitters more. I was able to use my changeup, able to use my slider, and it felt a lot more comfortable."

Dodgers center fielder Andrew Toles hit the second pitch of Pivetta's big league career -- a 1-0 fastball -- down the left-field line for a ground-rule double. Cody Bellinger, who hit the second of three ninth-inning home runs in Saturday night's incredible 6-5 comeback victory, beat the defensive shift for an infield single. Justin Turner, who hit the third of those ninth-inning homers Saturday, ripped a 2-2 slider to left field to score Toles and tie the game at 1.

Pivetta, who is the Phillies' No. 12 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com, allowed a solo homer to Chris Taylor in the second to make it 2-1. But he survived. He left runners in scoring position in the first, second, third and fifth innings.

"I was real happy with Pivetta," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "He pitched himself into some trouble but got out of it and limited the damage, gave us an opportunity to win the game."

"He was in a couple jams and he kept his composure," said Phillies catcher Cameron Rupp, who went 3-for-4 with two ground-rule doubles. "He probably overthrew a couple of pitches, left them up in the zone, but he competed. He gave us every opportunity to win that game. That's all you can ask from your starter, especially a guy making his debut. I'm sure he had nerves. I'm sure he had all kinds of butterflies in there."

Pivetta's family on seeing Nick

Pivetta had 14 family and friends in attendance. They flew from British Columbia, Canada, and sat five and six rows behind the visitors' dugout. They could be proud of his effort.

"It was definitely a really good learning experience," Pivetta said. "Any time you have 10 baserunners and only give up two runs, you're going to be pretty happy with that, especially on your first big league start."

Pivetta could make his next start Friday against the Nationals at Citizens Bank Park, if Aaron Nola remains on the 10-day disabled list.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.