Two first inning runs enough for Marlins
MIAMI (AP) — Aaron Nola needed three batters to settle down Saturday, and by then it was too late.
The All-Star right-hander gave up two runs in the first inning and the punchless Philadelphia Phillies never recovered, losing to the Miami Marlins 2-0.
The NL East-leading Phillies have scored only 24 runs in their past nine games.
Nola (12-3) needed 31 pitches to get through the first. After he loaded the bases with none out, one run scored on a groundout, and another came home on Martin Prado’s two-out single.
In that one inning, Nola surrendered as many runs as he had given up in his previous three starts combined.
“We got him early,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “That’s what you need to do.”
Nola said his curve wasn’t sharp at the outset.
“They got a couple of hits in the first inning and moved some guys over,” he said. “After that, I felt I settled in.”
Nola allowed only two baserunners after the first, one on a bizarre two-base error by third baseman Maikel Franco. By allowing two runs in six innings, Nola hiked his ERA to 2.30.
“We did pretty good in the first inning, and then he was attacking more,” Prado said. “He’s a guy who along the way just gets better.”
Trevor Richards (3-5) pitched six innings and didn’t allow a run. Three relievers completed the eight-hitter, and Kyle Barraclough pitched around a pair of two-out singles in the ninth for his ninth save and the Marlins’ eighth shutout.
The Phils went 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position.
“I thought we actually struck the ball really well throughout the game — lots of crisp line drives,” manager Gabe Kapler said.
Miami won with four hits.
Attendance was 14,793 on bark at the park day, with fans invited to bring along a dog. The crowd was the largest at Marlins Park since April 14.
Marlins center fielder Cameron Maybin made a running catch as his glove banged against the wall, robbing Rhys Hoskins of an RBI extra-base hit to end the fifth.
“That was an incredible play,” Richards said. “He saved the game right there. He covered some ground.”
Franco had an embarrassing mental lapse in the sixth. He backhanded a two-hopper hit by Starlin Castro in foul territory behind third base, started to throw and held up, apparently thinking he had grabbed a foul ball. Franco then turned and tossed the ball to a fan in the fourth row.
But the ball was fair, and because Franco threw it into the stands, Castro was awarded second base.
“That was a first for me,” Mattingly said.
Nola pitched around the error by retiring the next batter to end the inning.
When Nola had a 1-2 count against left-handed hitter Derek Dietrich in the fifth, the Phillies stationed all four infielders on the right side. Dietrich then struck out.
Nola increased his career strikeout total to 504. He reached the 500 milestone in 480 innings, faster than any previous Phil.
After the game, the Phillies said they’ll place RHP Zach Eflin (7-2, 3.15) on the 10-day disabled list because of a blister on the right middle finger of his pitching hand. He had been scheduled to start Sunday, and said he’ll instead take advantage of the upcoming All-Star break to fully heal.
“I just want to take it back to the way it was at the beginning of the year,” Eflin said. “I’m going to be on 10 or 11 days’ rest. It will be completely gone by the time I get back in the second half.”
Kapler said Eflin should be able to rejoin the rotation right after the break.
Phils RHP Enyel De Los Santos (1-0, 4.26) will be recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to start Sunday in place of Eflin against RHP Jose Urena (2-9, 4.13).
By Steven Wine of the Associated Press.