PITTSBURGH - Pitching in the majors for the first time since April 20, Aaron Nola was sharp Sunday in his return from the disabled list.
Nola allowed just one run over seven innings and it came on a bases-loaded hit by pitch of David Freese. On the very next pitch, he got John Jaso to ground into a 4-6-3 double play to end the threat.
Nola became the first Phillies starting pitcher to complete seven innings since Vince Velasquez on May 6, and it was his first time going that deep into a game since May 20, 2016.
He allowed just four singles, walked two (one intentional) and struck out five.
The Phillies provided Nola no run support but the result Sunday was secondary to how he looked in his first start back from the DL stint that caused him to miss a month.
His velocity, which was up in April before he went on the DL with a lower back strain, reached as high as 95.5 mph and averaged 92.3. While velocity readings have been a bit up league-wide this season, Nola's fastball has indeed had some more noticeable oomph.
He's thrown 13 pitches this season at 94 mph or faster. He had only two last season.
Nola was efficient all afternoon. He needed just 89 pitches over his seven innings and threw first-pitch strikes to 18 of 27 batters.
It was a great sign for the Phillies, who badly need their starting rotation to get into a rhythm. With the staff now healthy, Pete Mackanin hopes they get into a groove.
"I'm remaining optimistic because I think we're better than our record," Mackanin said Saturday. "Now that we've got our starters every fifth day and we don't have these days off and the rain and the injuries to starters, I think we can hopefully get into a rhythm with the starters, which will help the bullpen."