Rupp, Nola help Phillies blank Astros 9-0
By AARON BRACY
Jul. 27, 2017
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The surprise wasn't seeing a team pound out nine extra-base hits, just that it was the Phillies doing it.
Cameron Rupp hit two home runs and had four RBIs and Aaron Nola set a career high with 10 strikeouts over six innings to lead Philadelphia to a 9-0 victory over the Houston Astros on Wednesday night.
Maikel Franco homered and doubled and Tommy Joseph had two doubles for the Phillies, who had 14 hits while setting season highs for doubles (5) and extra-base hits.
The Astros, who entered leading the majors in average, hits and homers, had 22 hits and 18 runs while winning the first two games of the series. But the Phillies did their best Houston impression on Wednesday.
"The bats came alive," manager Pete Mackanin said. "It's great to beat a team like that. It was fun tonight."
Nola (8-6) continued his impressive stretch, limiting Houston to four hits and improving to 5-1 with a 1.49 ERA over his last seven starts.
"Nola was fantastic," Mackanin said. "I don't have enough accolades for him."
After the game, the Phillies announced a trade of reliever Pat Neshek to the Colorado Rockies for three minor leaguers. Neshek had a 1.12 ERA in 43 games.
Houston's Jose Altuve doubled and singled to extend his hitting streak to 18 games. It was the 13th multi-hit game during the streak for Altuve, who is batting .513 over that stretch. At 67-34, the Astros still lead Seattle by 17 games in the AL West.
"It wasn't a good night for us, and it really started with their starting pitcher," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "Nola did a great job."
Nola said he didn't worry about Houston's potent offense and focused on spotting his pitches.
"They're pretty good, but I just tried to stay with my plan," he said. "Don't really change up anything just because they're in first place. I think location was going to get them. That's what I was focused on tonight, trying to make pitches in quality locations."
Mike Fiers (7-5) allowed three runs and five hits in four innings, continuing his struggles against the Phillies. The right-hander is 0-3 with a 10.12 ERA in three career starts against Philadelphia.
Rupp took Fiers deep in the fourth, driving a 1-1, 89-mph fastball into the seats in right to give the Phillies a 2-0 lead. Nick Williams' two-out single to right made it 3-0.
After snapping an 0-for-16 skid with a first-inning double, Franco launched a two-run homer just inside the foul pole in left off Michael Feliz in the fifth to give Philadelphia a five-run lead.
The Phillies scored four more in the sixth, highlighted by Rupp's first career multi-homer game with a two-run shot to left-center.
"We got pitches to hit and we didn't miss them," Rupp said. "We did what we were supposed to do. We hit mistakes. It was fun."
The loss was in the first in 10 interleague games for the Astros. It also was just the third time they were shut out.
BENCHED AND BOOED
A night after he failed to run on a dropped third strike, Odubel Herrera was not in the starting lineup. Herrera struck out pinch-hitting in the sixth and was loudly booed.
DOUBLE THE FUN
Altuve and Josh Reddick doubled, giving Houston a two-base hit in 58 straight games.
Astros: All-Star left-hander Dallas Keuchel is set to rejoin the Astros' rotation on Friday at Detroit. The 2015 AL Cy Young Award winner has not pitched since June 2 due to a neck injury. ... Hinch said before the game that outfielders Alex Bregman (right hamstring) and George Springer (left quadriceps) and reliever Will Harris (right shoulder) could return to the lineup on Friday against Detroit.
Phillies: OF Howie Kendrick was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the fourth inning due to a left hand bruise after being hit by a pitch in the third. ... OF Daniel Nava (left hamstring strain) was placed on the 10-day DL retroactive to Sunday. ... Aaron Altherr tripled and singled in his return from the DL. Altherr had been sidelined since July 17 with a right hamstring strain.
Astros: Keuchel (9-0, 1.67 ERA) will look to pick up where he left off before landing on the DL when the Astros open a three-game series at Detroit on Friday night.
Phillies: After a day off, Philadelphia RHP Jeremy Hellickson (6-5, 4.73) begins a four-game home series versus Atlanta on Friday night. RHP Julio Theran (7-8, 4.67) goes for the Braves.
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