With 'everything going,' Nola shuts out Mets

May 14th, 2024

NEW YORK -- has had his moments when facing the Mets at Citi Field. On June 25, 2021, Nola struck out 10 consecutive batters, joining Tom Seaver as the only pitchers in baseball history to accomplish the feat (later joined by Corbin Burnes).

On Tuesday afternoon on the same field, Nola had his way again in a 4-0 victory over New York. He carried a perfect game into the sixth, when Tyrone Taylor singled to left field leading off the inning. Nola would allow three more hits before finishing his first complete game of the season, and the sixth of his career. It was the sixth nine-inning complete game this season.

“He was fantastic," said manager Rob Thomson. "He had everything going."

In his previous start against the Blue Jays, Nola lost his second game of the season, allowing four runs in 5 2/3 innings. He went into the game against New York with a different strategy.

“I tried to slow everything down delivery-wise," he said. "Not try to rush. I think that helped a lot."

Before the Taylor single, Nola was using all five of his pitches -- knuckle curve, four-seamer, cutter, sinker and changeup -- and getting his share of strikeouts and ground-ball outs.

"He executed,” Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor said. “He moved the ball very well. His curveball was working. He was effective. Whenever we got good swings on the baseball, they caught it. Overall, they just played better than us."

Nola said first-pitch strikes were also key to the game. But even when he got behind in the count, Nola was able to turn the situation in his favor.

“The Mets hit a couple of balls hard, but right at the guys," he said. "We made some really good plays. But I felt the fastball command, the cutter command and the curveball felt sharp today."

His best inning came in the seventh. He threw only three pitches. After Starling Marte led off with a single on the first pitch, Francisco Lindor followed and lined out on the first pitch to second baseman Kody Clemens. Up next, Pete Alonso swung at the first pitch and hit into a double play to end the threat.

It was the fourth three-pitch inning of the season, and the third that included a hit.

“It didn’t feel like three pitches, because there was the base hit, then there was the line drive and the double play. But I looked at my chart and I looked at the [scoreboard], and I said, ‘I guess that was three pitches,’” Thomson said. “He was really efficient.”

Nola didn’t recall having a three-pitch inning until Tuesday.

“That was fun, actually,” Nola said.

Phillies catcher Garrett Stubbs knew by the second inning that the Mets were in for a long day. He noticed that the velocity on Nola’s four-seam fastball (92.9 mph) and curveball (79.8) were up. On the season, those pitches have averaged 91.2 mph and 78.8 mph, respectively.

“We all know he’s pretty clinical hitting spots and today was one of those days where he was hitting his spots,” Stubbs said about Nola. “Once we were rolling, it did feel at one point into the sixth, we may go for a no-hitter because of the way his stuff was going. Obviously, it’s really hard to get. It was really incredible and felt like a video game.

“… I’m not a big video game player. I have to imagine that’s what it feels like. I felt like anywhere we called a pitch, it was going in that direction with some velocity, with the shapes that you are looking for. When you have that with a guy like Aaron Nola, you get the results that we got today.”

The Phillies gave Nola a two-run lead in the third inning by being patient against Mets right-hander José Buttó. With the bases loaded and two outs, Alec Bohm was hit by a pitch, scoring Johan Rojas. It was Bohm’s third RBI hit-by-pitch of the season, and his second in two days. Up next, Brandon Marsh walked to send Kyle Schwarber home.

With the victory, the Phillies swept the two-game series at Citi Field. They now return to Philadelphia to play another two-game set against the Mets starting Wednesday night. The 2024 Phillies are the second-fastest team in club history to 30 victories, behind only the 1976 Phillies.

“It’s a great start, but we have to finish. The depth of our roster helps us to create things, move people around, give people days off. You have injuries. We have talent there to fill it,” Thomson said.