All-Star Aaron Nola gave up two runs in the first inning and the punchless Philadelphia Phillies never recovered, losing Saturday 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.
The right-hander 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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
Phils RHP Zach Eflin (7-2, 3.15) is scheduled to start Sunday’s series finale against RHP Jose Urena (2-9, 4.13).
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Source: Associated Press