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Nola strolls over 7 1/3 as Phils blank Marlins

Righty retires 17 straight in dominant start; Hernandez hits leadoff HR
MLB.com @ToddZolecki

MIAMI -- The Phillies yelled a little louder and laughed a little harder as the music blared and the lasers danced across the ceiling and walls inside the visitors' clubhouse Wednesday night at Marlins Park. Aaron Nola, the man most responsible for the victory party, popped out of a back room a few minutes later.

"We needed to get back on track," he said coolly after a 6-0 victory over the Marlins.

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MIAMI -- The Phillies yelled a little louder and laughed a little harder as the music blared and the lasers danced across the ceiling and walls inside the visitors' clubhouse Wednesday night at Marlins Park. Aaron Nola, the man most responsible for the victory party, popped out of a back room a few minutes later.

"We needed to get back on track," he said coolly after a 6-0 victory over the Marlins.

View Full Game Coverage

Nola continued to cement his status as one of the best pitchers in baseball in a dominant performance that snapped the Phillies' four-game losing streak. He allowed four hits and one walk in 7 1/3 scoreless innings.

He struck out seven as he improved to 4-1 with a 2.17 ERA.

"What are you going to look for when you're hitting?" Phillies catcher Jorge Alfaro said. "He's got a really good curveball. When his changeup is there like tonight, his fastball -- he's untouchable. You can see it. Whenever he has those three pitches, it's like, wow. It's really fun to catch."

Nola allowed one-out singles in the first inning to Martin Prado and J.T. Realmuto to put runners on first and second, but he got through the inning on 21 pitches without allowing a run. He put the first two batters on base in the second, although he picked off Miguel Rojas before he walked Lewis Brinson. The inning ended on a strike-'em-out, throw-'em-out double play.

Video: PHI@MIA: Alfaro nabs Brinson for the double play

Nola rolled from there. He retired 17 consecutive batters after walking Brinson. It is the longest streak by a Phillies starter in one game since Cole Hamels retired 17 straight in his July 2015 no-hitter against the Cubs.

"I just went out and tried to do my job, put up zeros, and keep the game close and give the guys the best chance to win," Nola said.

Nola knew early that he had a good changeup, so he threw it a career-high 30 times. It induced a career-high 11 swings and misses. Nola's changeup never got more than seven swings and misses in any previous start.

"He saw that pitch was going to be very effective, and he really used that pitch well to keep the opposing hitters off balance," Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. "So now [Nola] has this electric fastball whenever he needs it, he's got a changeup keeping hitters off balance and he's always got his go-to curveball. It's a lot for a hitter to think about."

"If you add a third element," Rhys Hoskins said about Nola's changeup, "a third wrinkle to that, even if he's not throwing it for strikes per se, just to put that in the back of the other team's mind, the third pitch, it just opens up the rest of his arsenal."

Video: PHI@MIA: Hernandez belts a leadoff home run to center

Cesar Hernandez started the game with a leadoff home run. The Phillies carried a 2-0 lead into the eighth, when they scored twice. They scored two more runs in the ninth to put the game out of reach, meaning the Phillies could have their laser-light show postgame celebration.

"It's been awhile," Hoskins said. "I think we were maybe a little bit more excited to get the lights back on than normal. It's good for us. We need it."

Video: PHI@MIA: Nola singles for his 1st hit of the season

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Pedro Florimon started at shortstop as Scott Kingery recovered from a bruised right biceps. Florimon made the most of his third start of the season. He doubled and scored in the second inning, singled in the fourth and grounded into a fielder's choice to score an insurance run in the eighth.

Video: PHI@MIA: Florimon plates Franco with an RBI groundout

SOUND SMART
Marlins right-hander Jose Urena hit Odubel Herrera with a pitch in the first inning, extending Herrera's on-base streak to 32 games. It is the longest active streak in baseball and the longest streak by a Phillies player since Darin Ruf had a 33-game streak from 2012-13.

Video: PHI@MIA: Herrera extends his on-base streak with HBP

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Hoskins singled to left-center field in the ninth inning. Normally, that is not a big deal, but Hoskins struck out in his previous four at-bats. He entered that ninth-inning at-bat in a 1-for-19 slump with 10 strikeouts.

"I think the most frustrating part is just the inability to make an adjustment," Hoskins said. "I said it, I think in Atlanta [following a game-winning hit]: You've got to want the fifth at-bat. I made an adjustment the other way and it kind of locked me in, and I finally put a good swing on the ball."

Video: PHI@MIA: Kapler talks Nola, offense in win

HE SAID IT
"Cesar told me in batting practice that, 'I need to ease up on my swing a little bit. I'm going to be nice and easy tonight.' Boom. In order to catch up to 95 [mph] you have to be nice and easy. You have to rely on the bat head getting to the ball and the bat head doing the job. Cesar did exactly what he said he was going to do and set the tone for us." -- Kapler, on Hernandez's leadoff homer in the first

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
For the second consecutive night, the Phillies picked off a runner at first base with the help of instant replay. First-base umpire Quinn Wolcott called Rojas safe at first on an attempted pickoff by Nola in the second inning. The Phillies challenged the call and won. Replay showed that first baseman Carlos Santana tagged Rojas before he got to the bag.

Video: PHI@MIA: Nola picks off Rojas after challenge in 2nd

The Phillies won another challenge in the eighth when J.B. Shuck hit a liner off Luis Garcia's glove. Garcia retrieved the ball and threw to first. Wolcott called Shuck safe, but replay showed the throw beat him to the bag.

The Phillies have won nine of 10 challenges this season.

Video: PHI@MIA: Garcia nabs Shuck after overturned call

"I really want to give the credit to Kevin Camiscioli, our replay lead, and Rob Thomson in the dugout, always quick to go to the phone and make sure that the call is right on the field," Kapler said. "So that process is running very smoothly and we believe heavily in Kevin's ability to identify when we should challenge and when we shouldn't."

UP NEXT
The Phillies do not play Thursday, but they resume action Friday (7:05 p.m. ET) against Washington at Nationals Park. It is the first time the Phillies play the Nationals this season. Phillies right-hander Nick Pivetta (1-1, 3.27 ERA) faces Nats left-hander Gio Gonzalez (3-2, 2.67) in the series opener. Pivetta struggled in his last start but has a 2.79 ERA in his past five starts.

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.

Philadelphia Phillies, Cesar Hernandez, Aaron Nola