By AARON BRACY, Associated Press
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — There was no way Aaron Nola was going to get an early hook this time.
Nola pitched eight stellar innings and Scott Kingery hit a grand slam, leading the Philadelphia Phillies to a 6-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night.
Nola (1-0) gave up three hits while striking out six and walking three as Philadelphia won for the fourth time in five games. The Reds have lost three in a row.
Nola threw 103 pitches, two starts after rookie manager Gabe Kapler’s disputed decision to lift the Phillies ace through 68 pitches with a lead in a season-opening loss at Atlanta. The right-hander improved to 9-3 with a 2.04 ERA in his last 12 home starts.
“He just looked so good out there,” Kapler said. “This is the time we’re going to ride him.”
Nola finished by retiring his final 10 batters.
“Just keep focusing on command and attack to get early outs,” Nola said.
The Phillies got some insurance in the eighth when Kingery connected with one out off Tanner Rainey, who was making his big league debut. It was the second career homer for Kingery — he helped the Phillies beat the Reds 6-5 on Monday night by going deep.
“It’s pretty cool,” Kingery said. “I just put a good swing on it.”
Reds starter Homer Bailey didn’t allow a hit through 5 1/3 innings and pitched through the sixth, giving up one run on two hits with seven strikeouts and no walks.
“Homer did a spectacular job,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “That’s a big step for him.”
Cesar Hernandez broke up Bailey’s no-hit bid with a solid single to right. Hernandez stole second and scored when Odubel Herrera hit the first of his two doubles.
J.P. Crawford put the Phillies ahead 2-1 in the seventh when he singled off Jared Hughes (0-1). Crawford got a hit for just the second time in 26 at-bats this season and drove in Nick Williams, who led off with a double.
The Reds got on the board first in the fifth when Billy Hamilton drew his second two-out walk of the game, stole second base for the second time and scored on Jesse Winker’s single.
Nola is the Phillies’ No. 1 pitcher but doesn’t necessarily draw attention as one of baseball’s top starters because of his lack of overpowering stuff. That doesn’t make him any less of an ace for Kapler.
“He has as good as command and as good of a curveball as anybody in the league,” Kapler said. “Definitely a horse.”
Crawford said he’s been working hard in the batting cage on shortening his swing and staying inside the ball. His confidence was boosted in his first at-bat when he lined out hard to left field in the third inning, and he carried that into his go-ahead hit.
“Hard work in the cage,” Crawford said. “It felt good.”
A night after Joey Votto twice denied fans foul balls, the Phillies faithful let the Reds first baseman hear it with a cacophony of boos at every opportunity. Votto didn’t have any opportunities to field balls near the stands and went 0 for 4.
Phillies: RHP Tommy Hunter (strained right hamstring) will do some fielding drills on Wednesday to test out his injured leg. … C Jorge Alfaro was hit on the left hand by Bailey’s pitch in the third inning. He was lifted in the seventh for pinch-hitter Andrew Knapp, who took over catching duties from that point.
RHP Nick Pivetta (1-0, 2.79) starts for the Phillies against Reds RHP Luis Castillo (0-2, 9.00) in the finale of the three-game series on Wednesday night. Neither has faced the other team. Castillo will be trying to get on track after allowing 10 earned runs on 12 hits in 10 innings thus far.
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