PHILADELPHIA -- Baseball's best offense met its match on Wednesday night in Aaron Nola.
Nola struck out a career-high 10 batters in six stellar innings, and Cameron Rupp blasted a pair of two-run homers for his first career multihomer game to lead the Phillies to a 9-0 win over the American League West-leading Astros at Citizens Bank Park. The loss was just the 13th in 50 road games this year for the Astros, who own the Majors' best road winning percentage (.740).
Nola (8-6) improved to 5-1 with a 1.49 ERA in his last seven outings, having held opponents to a .189 batting average in that span. The last Phillies pitcher to post seven or more consecutive quality starts was Nola with nine in a row from April 22-June 5, 2016.
"They're pretty good, from what I've seen this year," Nola said of the Astros. "I just stayed with my plan. I didn't want to change anything just because they're in first place. They're a great team, but we hit really good tonight."
The Astros were the first team in Major League history to start a season 9-0 in Interleague Play before being shut out for the third time this year.
"It wasn't a good night for us, and it really started with their starting pitcher," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "Nola did a good job of throwing his fastballs in two different areas. His breaking ball was pretty good -- he mixed in a couple of changeups. Just a good night for him and an off night for us."
• No relief from 'pen as Fiers' strong run ends
Astros starter Mike Fiers (7-5) needed 102 pitches to get through four innings, allowing three runs and five hits while walking three. Reliever Michael Feliz started the fifth and worked two innings, getting tagged for six runs on eight hits, including Rupp's second homer in the sixth, which made it 9-0.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Phillies e-Rupp: The Phillies had runners in scoring position in the second and third innings against Fiers, but it wasn't until Rupp rocketed the first of his homers in the fourth inning that they broke through. It was the fourth homer allowed by Fiers in his past 11 starts after he gave up 18 in his first nine starts.
Rupp is hitting .357 with three doubles, four homers, eight RBIs and a 1.152 OPS in his past 13 games.
"I finally got out of that -- whatever it was," Rupp said of a 20-game slump in which he hit .104. "I hit my slump that every player goes through. Mine lasted a little bit longer, unfortunately. I battled. I worked on things. I hung with it. I trusted myself, and now I'm not missing my pitches." More >
"He has a lot of talent and I love the way he pitched today, but unfortunately, it was against us." -- Astros second baseman Jose Altuve, on Nola
"It was a cool moment to talk to him there and tell him about the trade. He is excited, and we'll all be rooting for him to continue having success in the second half." -- Phillies general manager Matt Klentak, on breaking the news to right-handed reliever Pat Neshek that he had been traded to the Rockies for three prospects
• Trade target Kendrick exits with left hand bruise
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
• Altuve extended his career-high hitting streak to 18 games with a first-inning double, which also pushed Houston's streak of consecutive games with a two-bagger to 58, the second-longest run in big league history behind the 1996 Indians (75 straight).
• Rupp was the first Phillies catcher to have a multihomer game since Mike Lieberthal's on Sept. 17, 2006, at Houston.
Astros: Following an off-day Thursday, the Astros will welcome back ace left-hander Dallas Keuchel from the disabled list in Friday's 6:10 p.m. CT series opener against the Tigers at Comerica Park. Keuchel (9-0, 1.67 ERA) has missed eight weeks with neck discomfort.
Phillies: The Phillies will open a four-game series on Friday night against the Braves at Citizens Bank Park. Jeremy Hellickson (6-5, 4.73 ERA) could be making the final start of his Phillies tenure. The right-hander is a strong candidate to be traded before Monday's 4 p.m. ET non-waiver Trade Deadline.
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