Entering Thursday night sitting at 69-55 and asserted in the second NL Wild Card spot, the Phillies had a chance to sweep the Reds and move to fifteen games over .500.
Getting the start for the Phils was right-hander Aaron Nola, who was opposed by 26-year-old righty Justin Dunn. The two pitchers entered Thursday with opposite levels of success.
Nola toed the rubber with a 3.25 ERA and 174 strikeouts in just 157.2 IP, while Dunn sported a 6.08 ERA in 13.1 IP.
Both starters got off to strong starts, as neither team could muster any runs through the first two innings.
The scoring finally opened in the bottom of the third inning, thanks to the Phillies leadoff man Kyle Schwarber. The left fielder blasted a solo shot to dead center, giving Philadelphia a one-to-nothing lead. The broadcast reported the homer at a whopping 451 feet.
Nola continued to blank the Reds as he worked effectively through the first five on just fifty-six pitches. The former LSU Tiger added five punchies while walking none and allowing just one hit.
Garrett Stubbs, getting the start for J.T. Realmuto, wanted to give the ace more insurance, so he began the bottom of the fifth with a bunt single. Stubbs then went from first to third on a Bradley Zimmer base hit. Finally, the former Astro came home to score on a SAC fly off the bat of Edmundo Sosa.
As the game progressed, Aaron Nola only got stronger. He worked quickly through the Reds in the seventh, sitting at just 70 pitches through seven one-hit innings.
The Phillies offense continued to support their star pitcher as they tacked on two more runs in the bottom half of the seventh.
After Matt Vierling and Bradley Zimmer each collected a base hit, Edmundo Sosa returned to the dish. The former Cardinal came up big once again, this time driving in both runners on a base knock.
Edmundo Sosa, ladies and germs! pic.twitter.com/W5QcFduMWS— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) August 26, 2022
The hit drove in the second and third runs for Edmundo on the night, doubling the Phillies lead, making it 4-0.
For the first time since the top of the second inning, Cincinnati was able to put runners on base to start the top of the eighth.
Aristides Aquino led off the inning with the weakest hit single in quite some time. To keep things interesting, Alejo Lopez dropped in a single, placing the first two runners of the inning aboard.
That was no problem at all for Nols, as he promptly struck out the next three Reds in order, all swinging. Pure dominance.
The Philly offense came up empty during their turn at the dish, sending us to the ninth. With a standing ovation greeting him, Aaron Nola returned to the mound for the ninth inning, in search of a complete game shutout.
Nick Senzel lead off the inning with an infield single hit between short and third. The former first round selection bounced back quickly by striking out Kyle Farmer for his tenth punch out of the ballgame.
Donovan Solano met the same fate as Nola struck him out on just three pitches.
With two outs, T.J. Friedl pulled a double down the line, but Nick Senzel was held at third as he was hampered from an earlier leg injury. Friedl and Senzel would not move from scoring position as Nola retired Aquino on a groundout back to Aaron.
The complete-game-shutout was the third of Nola’s career as he added eleven strikeouts to his sensational day.
Aaron Nola was special tonight:— Brodes Media (@BrodesMedia) August 26, 2022
9 IP | 5 H | 0 ER | 0 BB | 11 K | 101 Pitches pic.twitter.com/oBBmsW127t
The victory completes a four-game sweep of the Reds as the Phillies move to 70-55 on the season.
Next up, the Pittsburgh Pirates come to town for a three-game series. More importantly, Bryce is back.
First pitch for Friday night at CBP is set for 7:05pm with Bailey Falter getting the start for the Fightins.