After hot playoff start, Nola finally falters for Phillies
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Aaron Nola and the Philadelphia Phillies were rolling along this postseason.
The right-hander had a big lead Wednesday against the Padres — and then he let them right back in the NL Championship Series.
His older brother was right in the middle of it, too.
San Diego catcher Austin Nola hit an RBI single in a five-run fifth inning and the Padres rallied for an 8-5 victory that tied the NLCS at one game apiece.
Aaron Nola made his playoff debut this year and went 2-0 without allowing an earned run in 12 2/3 innings as Philadelphia swept the NL wild-card round against St. Louis and upset defending World Series champion Atlanta in the Division Series.
The surprising Phillies came to San Diego and blanked the Padres 2-0 in the NLCS opener Tuesday behind starter Zack Wheeler and home runs from sluggers Bryce Harper and Kyle Schwarber — improving to 6-1 in their first postseason since 2011.
But then Philadelphia squandered an excellent chance to go home leading 2-0 in the best-of-seven series.
“I shut the door for the next two innings and they got me in the fifth,” Aaron Nola said. “They were hitting the fastball pretty well, a couple of missed locations.”
San Diego scored four more times off Nola while taking a 7-4 lead in the fifth and never let up.
“It happens. His stuff was still good,” teammate Rhys Hoskins said. “I am sure he is frustrated with how things turned out, but that doesn’t make us lose any confidence in him going forward, for sure.”
“He pitched his butt off. I thought he did an excellent job,” Austin Nola said. “We just put together good at-bats on him. That’s what you’ve got to do with him.”
Jurickson Profar followed with a single and Juan Soto doubled. Aaron Nola got pulled after striking out Manny Machado, one of his six punch-outs in the game.
He gave up six runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings, taking the loss.
“He has been fantastic. I don’t think this bump is going to slow him down,” said Schwarber, who went 0 for 3 with an RBI and a walk. ”We weren’t able to pick him up.”
The Nola brothers became the first siblings to face each other as pitcher and hitter in the postseason, and just the sixth set of brothers to play against each other in the playoffs.
Aaron had made 203 starts — most ever by a Phillies pitcher whose entire career was spent with the team — before making his postseason debut earlier this month against the Cardinals.
The series shifts to Philadelphia for three games starting Friday.
“It’s always good when you can go on the road and you can split,” Schwarber said. “We took away the home-field advantage part of it.”
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