Aaron Nola pitched another beauty and batterymate Cameron Rupp smacked a pair of two-run homers to lift the Phillies to a 9-0 win over the powerful Houston Astros at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday night.
The Astros entered the ballgame averaging a majors-best 7.9 runs in 19 games in July and they had outscored the Phillies, 18-4, in winning the first two games of the series. Nola held them scoreless for six innings.
The Phillies are 35-64.
Houston has the best record in the American League at 67-34.
Starting pitching report
Nola (8-6) held the Astros to four hits over six shutout innings. He walked one and struck out 10, a career high.
Over his last seven starts, Nola is 5-1 with a 1.49 ERA. He has struck out 60 batters in that span and walked just 14. Opponents have hit just .189.
Houston right-hander Mike Fiers (7-5) gave up five hits and three runs over four innings.
Luis Garcia, Joaquin Benoit and Hector Neris completed the shutout for the Phillies.
Houston right-hander Michael Feliz was hit hard. He gave up eight hits, including two homers, and six runs in two innings of work.
At the plate
Rupp became the first Phillies catcher since Mike Lieberthal in 2006 to hit two homers in a game. Maikel Franco clubbed his 15th homer. Tommy Joseph doubled twice, singled and walked.
Houston hit machine Jose Altuve had a pair of hits, raising his hitting streak to 18 games. He leads the majors in hitting at .365.
Trade candidate Howie Kendrick left the game with soreness in his left hand. He was hit by a pitch. It's unclear how that will affect his trade status. The Phillies might have to wait until after Monday's non-waiver trade deadline to deal him. Players traded after Monday must first clear waivers.
Reliever Pat Neshek is the Phillie most likely to be dealt before the deadline. The Phils have received extensive interest in him.
The Phillies placed Daniel Nava on the disabled list and activated Aaron Altherr from the DL. Altherr started in center field in place of Odubel Herrera, who was not benched (see story).
The Phillies are off on Thursday. They host the Atlanta Braves in a four-game series beginning on Friday night. Here are the pitching matchups:
Friday night -- RHP Jeremy Hellickson (6-5, 4.73) vs. RHP Julio Teheran (7-8, 4.76)
Saturday night -- RHP Jerad Eickhoff (2-7, 4.71) vs. LHP Sean Newcomb (1-5, 4.81)
Sunday afternoon -- RHP Vince Velasquez (2-6, 5.49) vs. RHP R.A. Dickey (6-7, 4.31)
Monday afternoon -- RHP Nick Pivetta (3-6, 5.73) vs. RHP Mike Foltynewicz (9-5, 3.82).