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Bruce, Neris, Nola Lead Phillies Past Braves

By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor

Three Philadelphia Phillies (45-40) players came up large in the club's 2-0 shutout victory over the National League East-leading Atlanta Braves (50-36) in Tuesday's three-game series opener at SunTrust Park — left fielder Jay Bruce, closer Hector Neris, and right-hander Aaron Nola.

Bruce delivered the game's only runs with a two-out, two-run double in the fourth, and Neris struck out all three batters faced in the ninth to secure his 17th save. Most importantly, however, Nola dazzled for his third straight start, tossing eight scoreless innings against the potent Braves offense on a career-high 117 pitches (73 strikes).

The Phillies ace scattered eight strikeouts and allowed only three singles, one double, and three walks while inducing 14 swinging strikes.

Nola fittingly outdueled once Phillies free agent target Dallas Keuchel, a two-time All-Star, four-time Gold Glove Award winner, 2015 American League Cy Young Award winner and 2017 World Series champion who recently signed a one-year, $13 million pact with the Braves.

Keuchel made his third start with the Braves and his first career start at SunTrust Park, allowing just the two runs via the Bruce double, five overall hits and two walks while striking out just three Phillies batters. The southpaw is now 1-2 with a 4.08 ERA with the Braves.

The Phillies have now won six of their last eight games, all against National League East opponents while outscoring them 54-40. Nola is now 7-2 with a 3.89 ERA.

Game Notes:

  • The Braves were shut out for just the second time this season.
  • The Phillies are now 5-2 against the Braves this season, and are 9-14 all-time at SunTrust Park, including 2-2 this season and 2-7 in their last nine games at the venue.
  • Nola has now won nine of his 15 career starts against the Braves, with a 2.26 ERA; on Tuesday, he became the first Phillies pitcher to throw at least eight scoreless innings against the Braves since Aaron Harang in 2015.
  • Nola's last three starts: 23 IP, 11 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 28 SO, 1 HR, 2 HBP, 0.39 ERA, 0.696 WHIP
  • Entering the game, Keuchel was 1-0 with a 0.73 ERA and 1.216 WHIP through two career starts against the Phillies (most recent being August 5, 2014). He is now 1-1 with a 1.40 ERA and 1.138 WHIP.
  • Keuchel is now 1-2 through three starts with the Braves.
  • Nola and Neris combined to retire the last 10 Braves batters faced in a row.
  • Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco's hitting streak ended at seven games (0-4).
  • The Phillies now trail the National League East by 4 1/2 games.

What's Next:

  • Wednesday, July 3, 2019: at Atlanta Braves, 7:20 p.m.
    • SunTrust Park, Atlanta, Ga.
    • RHP Nick Pivetta (4-2, 5.63 ERA) vs. RHP Bryse Wilson (0-0, 8.31 ERA)
    • TV: NBCSP; Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP


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