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Nola strikes out career-high 12 to lead Phillies past Giants

Philadelphia Phillies’ Aaron Nola pitches during the third inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants, Tuesday, May 8, 2018, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Once he got ahead, Aaron Nola had an easy time finishing off hitters.

Nola struck out a career-high 12 batters in seven stellar innings, Odubel Herrera had two hits to extend his career-best on-base streak to 37 games, and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the San Francisco Giants 4-2 on Tuesday night.

Nola (5-1) allowed one run and five hits while walking none. He focused on getting ahead of batters and then used his arsenal of two-seam and four-seam fastballs, curveball and changeup to silence the Giants’ bats.

“He shut us down,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.

Aaron Altherr, Carlos Santana and Jorge Alfaro hit solo home runs for Philadelphia.

Nola went at least seven innings for the fourth straight start, improving to 4-0 with a 1.91 ERA in that stretch. The Giants went down swinging on nine of Nola’s K’s. The right-hander recorded nine consecutive outs via strikeout between the second and fifth innings, ending with a pickoff of Gregor Blanco at first for the final out in the fifth.

“My main key was getting ahead,” Nola said. “I had all of my pitches working.”

Hector Neris got the last two outs, striking out both batters, for his seventh save in nine chances. Manager Gabe Kapler elected to leave Tommy Hunter in for the first batter in the ninth rather than go to Neris, who blew a save in Sunday’s 5-4 loss at Washington.

Although it is uncommon for a late-inning reliever to come out for a second inning, Kapler said he will do it again if the matchups are right.

Pablo Sandoval homered off reliever Edubray Ramos for the Giants while pinch-hitting in the eighth.

The Giants took a 1-0 lead in the second on Brandon Crawford’s RBI grounder. The run halted Nola’s scoreless streak at 14 1/3 innings, but that is all San Francisco got off the Phillies’ ace.

“He was throwing any pitch at any time,” Bochy said.

The Phillies tied it in the bottom of the second when Altherr hit an 82-mph slider from Derek Holland (1-4) to deep left.

Philadelphia went ahead an inning later with a pair of runs. Alfaro drove a 79-mph slider from Holland over the fence in left, and Herrera’s single up the middle drove in Cesar Hernandez to make it 3-1.

Santana, robbed of hits during his first two at-bats, made sure no one could catch the ball in his third trip, leading off the sixth with a homer to right off Cory Gearrin to make it 4-1.

“Right now we’re having a tough time keeping the ball in the ballpark,” Bochy said.

Philadelphia has seven homers while outscoring San Francisco 15-2 over the last two games.

Third baseman Evan Longoria made a diving snare of Santana’s liner in the second and Austin Jackson made a leaping catch in center in the fourth on Santana’s fly ball.

Holland gave up three runs and six hits with three strikeouts and two walks in five innings.

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