LOS ANGELES - Aaron Nola's first start in Dodger Stadium was a beauty.
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Nola pitched seven innings of one-run ball to lead the Phillies to a 2-1 win and a split of a four-game series with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The win improved the Phillies to 31-23. They finished the month of May with a 15-11 record. Last year, the Phillies' season fell apart under the rubble of a 6-22 May record.
Nola's batterymate, Jorge Alfaro, had the big hit, an RBI double with two outs in the seventh to break a 1-1 tie. Alfaro's hit scored Scott Kingery, who had singled with two outs.
Dynamic, power-armed rookie right-hander Seranthony Dominguez got the final six outs of the game. He benefited from a terrific running catch by rightfielder Aaron Altherr to open the bottom of the eighth inning and a big play in the infield by shortstop Kingery in the ninth. Earlier in the game, Odubel Herrera made a tremendous leaping catch at the center-field wall to save a run in the first inning.
Dominguez earned his second save. He has now pitched 13 2/3 innings scoreless innings since coming to the majors. He has allowed just two hits. He has registered 15 strikeouts and walked none.
Nola allowed just two hits. He walked one and struck out seven. He is 7-2 with a 2.18 ERA in 12 starts. Over his last two starts, he has pitched 13 2/3 innings and given up just three hits and two runs. He has walked four and struck out 17 in that span.
Three-time National League Cy Young award winner Clayton Kershaw made his first start since May 1 when he required a trip to the disabled list because of biceps tendinitis. The left-hander's fastball velocity has been down all season and it was again in this outing. His best fastball was just 90 mph and he averaged 89 mph on the pitch. He compensated by throwing a lot of off-speed stuff, particularly his slider, and held the Phils to a run over five innings.
The game was tied at 1-1 in the seventh when Kingery singled with two outs against Josh Fields. Alfaro followed with his RBI double to the gap in right-center. Alfaro was cut down trying to stretch the hit into a triple. That turned out to be serendipitous because it ended the inning with the pitcher's spot due up. Manager Gabe Kapler had Jesmuel Valentin in the on-deck circle, but when the inning ended he was able to send Nola back out for the bottom of the seventh.
The Phils play the next three days against the Giants in San Francisco. Pitching matchups:
Friday night - RHP Nick Pivetta (4-3, 3.26) vs. RHP Chris Stratton (6-3, 4.97)
Saturday night - RHP Vince Velasquez (4-5, 4.08) vs. LHP Andrew Suarez (1-4, 5.65)
Sunday afternoon - RHP Jake Arrieta (5-2, 2.16) vs. TBA.