PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Aaron Nola finished off a stellar season
in typically dominant fashion.Nola pitched seven shutout innings to help the
Philadelphia Phillies snap a nine-game losing streak with a 3-0 victory over the
Atlanta Braves on Saturday night.In his final start of the year ,
Nola (17-6) allowed two hits and struck out eight with four walks. The
right-hander ended 2018 with a 2.37 ERA and 224 strikeouts in 212 1/3 innings.
He likely will fall short of a NL Cy Young award after stumbling a bit in
September. Nola entered 1-3 with a 4.60 ERA and nine home runs allowed in
September before returning to the form his displayed for most of the season on
Saturday.“It feels good,” Nola said, “but I think it feels better for us as a
team.”Rather than focus on any particular statistic, Nola said he was happiest
about staying healthy and making all of his starts. His aim every outing is a
team goal.“Just try to win ballgames and try to go deep in ballgames,” he
said.After taking a month off, Nola will begin tuning up for 2019.“Just stay
consistent, keep working on my delivery and try to learn more and more about the
game Luke
Appling Jersey
,” he said.Cesar Hernandez had a two-run single in
the seventh inning to back Nola.The NL East champion Braves will play either the
Los Angeles Dodgers or Colorado Rockies in the NLDS, and Atlanta still could
host the series. The Braves (90-71) and Dodgers have the same record entering
the regular-season finale on Sunday while Colorado entered Saturday with a 90-70
mark.Atlanta had no answer for Nola.“You just try to keep it close and hopefully
his clicker will run out,” manager Brian Snitker said. “We just couldn’t get
anything going.”Nola allowed only Ronald Acuna Jr.’s single to lead off the game
and Nick Markakis’ single to start the fourth. The closest the Braves came to
scoring was in the second inning when Nola walked the first two batters. But the
right-hander got Kurt Suzuki to line out, struck out Ozzie Albies and then
intentionally walked Charlie Culberson to load the bases before finally striking
out starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez.Sanchez matched Nola, giving up three hits
with seven strikeouts and three walks in six shutout innings.“He did everything
he could do to get us a chance,” Snitker said.With one out and two runners on in
the seventh, manager Gabe Kapler chose to pinch-hit for Nola. Jonny Venters
(5-2) intentionally walked pinch-hitter Wilson Ramos to load the bases before
Hernandez hit a sharp liner under shortstop Culberson’s glove into left field
that scored two. Odubel Herrera helped the Phillies take a 3-0 lead when he beat
out a potential double-play grounder to short.Seranthony Dominguez pitched a
scoreless ninth for his 15th save in 19 chances.The victory was Philadelphia’s
first since Sept. 19. The Phillies’ slide started with a four-game sweep at
Atlanta last weekend when they still were mathematically alive in the playoff
race. The Phillies were outscored 70-21 during the losing streak that capped a
late-season collapse. Philadelphia went from 15 games over .500 and 1 ½ games in
front of Atlanta for first place on Aug. 7 to four games under .500 and 12 games
back of the Braves on Sept. 28.NOLA NUMBERSNola joined Hall of Famer Grover
Cleveland Alexander as the only Phillies pitchers to strike out 200 or more
batters and hold opponents to a batting average of .200 or lower. And the
right-hander is the fourth Philadelphia hurler to record 224 or more strikeouts
in a season ,
joining Jim Bunning, Alexander and Curt Schilling.MARKAKIS’ MILESTONEMarkakis
played in his 2,000th game, becoming the fifth active player to reach the
milestone. Adrian Beltre (2,931), Albert Pujols (2,692) ,
Miguel Cabrera (2,264) and Robinson Cano (2,077) are the active players ahead of
Markakis.TRAINER’S ROOMPhillies: C Jorge Alfaro (quad) was replaced by Andrew
Knapp at the start of the third inning.UP NEXTBraves RHP Kevin Gausman (10-10,
3.93) opposes Phillies LHP Ranger Suarez (1-1, 6.00) on Sunday afternoon in the
regular-season finale. New York Mets third baseman David Wright will report to
Las Vegas to continue his rehabilitation as he attempts a big league
comeback.Mike Puma of theNew York Post reported the news.Wright, 35, made his
return Aug. 12 with Single-A St. Lucie. He had six hits in 32 at-bats and drove
in two runs.The two sides are beginning to run out of time to decide Wright's
next step. His maximum 20-day window to be in the minors ends Friday. The Mets
and Wright could choose to extend that together ,
but Las Vegas' season ends Sept. 3.Rosters expand to 40 players Saturday, and
that seems like when Wright would rejoin the major league roster. Wright sat out
Sunday and Monday's game in Single-A after playing four games in five nights.鈥淗e
just didn鈥檛 feel comfortable playing three in a row,鈥?manager Mickey
Callawaytold reporters. 鈥淕oing to reevaluate where he鈥檚 at physically.鈥漌right
has not played since the 2016 season and has appeared in just 75 games over the
last four years. He has undergone multiple surgeries in hopes of correcting
back, neck and shoulder issues. A setback in March held him out of all baseball
activities until June.
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