Aaron Nola strikes out career-high nine but Phillies falter in home opener

Aaron Nola strikes out career-high nine but Phillies falter in home opener
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The 2016Phillies are tough to label.

Sometimes the look really good (for eight innings) and lose. Sometimes they look pretty bad and win. And then there’s Monday’s home opener.

Whether it was bad defense, bad umpiring or a lack of timely hitting, the Phillies and Aaron Nola looked like winners as they opened Citizens Bank Park against the Padres. But they lost 4-3, falling to 2-5 on the year.

Not without a fight, Philly’s Maikel Franco led the ninth off with a single but a long and frustrating day for Darin Ruf (more on that later) concluded when he hit into a double play and Cameron Rupp poped out to end it.

Nola certainly deserved better than his first ‘L’ of the year, compiling a career-high nine strikeouts in seven frames, but surrendering weak hits in bunches to the tune of four runs.

It was really Nola’s first blemish of the season, as two hits up the middle and smart base-running from the heart of the Padres order gave them a 2-0 lead midway through three frames.

An inning later a solo blast from Wil Myers gave San Diego some more cushion.

The Phillies struck back, thanks to Cesar Hernandez speedy legs earning him a triple to lead off the fourth frame. A few pitches later, Odubel Herrera stood tough on an 0-2 count to plate Hernandez with an RBI-single, cutting the Padres lead to two runs.

More offense followed in the bottom of the fifth as back to back doubles fromRupp and Peter Bourjoschipped away one more, with Philly trailing 3-2 after five frames.

After another impressive half-inning for Nola, the Phillies loaded up the bases with noone out asRuf pinch hit for Ryan Howard in the sixth. A misplayed pop up tied the game (the Padres still got an out at third base) but cost the Phillies two base-runners on a bizarre 6-5 double play.

Nola’s fourth surrendered run wasn’t really his fault either, as an impressive diving stop byFranco resulted on Ruf losing the bag at first and runners at the corner with one out. A sacrifice bunt brought the lead back to the Padres 4-3 before it was stretch time in the seventh.

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