PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Aaron Nola allowed one hit and struck out nine in seven sharp innings, Kyle Schwarber homered and the NL wild-card leading Philadelphia Phillies completed a three-game sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals with a 3-0 victory Sunday.
Johan Rojas doubled among his three hits and Bryce Harper hit an RBI single for the defending NL champion Phillies, who outscored the Cardinals 22-3 in the series.
“Our offense was really good the entire series, we played really good defense and our pitching was outstanding,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said.
José Alvarado tossed a scoreless eighth and Craig Kimbrel completed the two-hit shutout with his 20th save in 22 tries with a scoreless ninth.
“We're hitting our stride when we want to,” Schwarber said. “We have to keep pushing, keep going.”
St. Louis has dropped nine of 11 and was shut out for the 11th time. Philadelphia pitched its fourth shutout — only Boston and Washington have fewer with three.
After Tommy Edman led off the game with a double, Nola (12-8) retired 21 of the next 22 batters.
“I really felt like I had to get in the zone,” Nola said after Edman's at-bat. “They were three uncompetitive pitches.”
A one-out walk in the fifth to Nolan Gorman was the only blemish over that stretch and the right-hander’s only free pass of the day. St. Louis didn't get another hit until Paul Goldschmidt's one-out double off Kimbrel.
“Nola was fantastic,” Thomson said. “Kept them off balance.”
Among the NL leaders in strikeouts and innings pitched, Nola upped his season totals to 174 K's and 167⅓ innings. The 30-year-old didn’t allow a home run for the fifth time in 27 starts.
Schwarber hit the first pitch of the game from Drew Rom (0-2) deep into the bushes in center field. The 436-foot shot was the 36th home run for Schwarber, who led the NL with 46 in 2022. It also was his 27th career leadoff homer and seventh this season.
The Phillies went up 2-0 in the fifth on Trea Turner’s sacrifice fly that scored Rojas, and they took a three-run lead in the seventh on Harper’s opposite-field single.
“The team has been mashing the baseball,” Nola said.
Rom, acquired in a trade from Baltimore on Aug. 1, gave up those two runs on five hits in 5⅓ innings. He struck out six and walked one. It was the second career outing for the 23-year-old lefty, who surrendered six runs in 3⅔ innings in his debut in an 11-1 loss at Pittsburgh on Aug. 21.
“He kept guys more off balance than his first outing,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “That was a much better outing.”
Nola tied Curt Schilling for fifth place on Philadelphia’s career strikeouts list with 1,554.
Schwarber has an extra-base hit in six consecutive contests.
Sunday marked Philadelphia’s first series sweep of the Cardinals at Citizens Bank Park, which opened in 2004.
Edman was thrown out at second base in the first inning after breaking toward third on Paul Goldschmidt’s grounder to deep shortstop. St. Louis would’ve had runners on first and second with one out.
Cardinals: Placed RHP Guillermo Zuñiga (right forearm strain) on the 15-day injured list, retroactive to Friday, and recalled RHP James Naile from Triple-A Memphis. ... 3B Nolan Arenado returned to the lineup after sitting out Saturday’s game with lower back tightness. ... OF Tyler O’Neill (knee) was in Marmol’s original lineup before being replaced by Richie Palacios.
Phillies: LHP Ranger Suárez will throw batting practice to hitters Monday. He has been sidelined since Aug. 16 with a strained right hamstring.
Cardinals: Begin a six-game homestand Monday night when St. Louis RHP Adam Wainwright (3-9, 8.61) faces Padres LHP Blake Snell (10-9, 2.73).
Phillies: Open three-game series against the Angels on Monday night. Phillies RHP Taijuan Walker (13-5, 4.02) opposes Los Angeles RHP Lucas Giolito (7-10, 4.32).
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb