CHICAGO — Aaron Nola’s major-league debut Tuesday surely would have ended differently had he garnered a little run support — or any support at all, for that matter.
The former LSU and Catholic High standout received plenty of it Sunday in his second MLB start.
The Philadelphia Phillies gave their young pitcher plenty of room to work with in their 11-5 win against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, their third sweep of the season.
The Phillies have won eight of nine, their lone loss being the 1-0 defeat in Nola’s debut against the Tampa Bay Rays at Citizens Bank Park.
“Nola made it look easy,” interim manager Pete Mackanin said. “After the first couple innings — he wasn’t as sharp as we’d like to see him — but he settled down, just painting with all of his pitches.”
Nola (1-1) allowed four runs and five hits in 7.2 innings, striking out six. He also had an RBI single in Philadelphia’s three-run fourth.
The 22-year-old’s effort was stronger than the pitching line might indicate: After he allowed two runs and three hits through seven innings, Cubs rookie Addison Russell tagged him for a two-run homer in the eighth. Earlier, he retired 11 straight in one stretch.
Nola said getting his first win the day after watching teammate Cole Hamels make history with a no-hitter was almost surreal.
“I’m just soaking as much as I can in right now, and being a part of this is pretty amazing,” he said. “(The no-hitter) was hard to follow up. When the offense puts up runs like that, you definitely can go out and attack guys as much as I could. It worked out for the most part.”
The Phillies offense handled the rest.
Eight of Philadelphia’s 17 hits went for extra bases, giving the team 21 in a three-game span for the first time since June 14-16, 2001.
Maikel Franco and Ryan Howard each delivered two-run homers. Domonic Brown drove in three runs and finished a home run shy of the cycle. Six players put together multihit games. All nine in the lineup tallied at least one.
Nola pitched 7.2 innings or more only twice in his 29 minor-league starts. Sixty-three of his 92 pitches Sunday were strikes.
He became the youngest Phillies pitcher to win at the Cubs’ historic ballpark since Brett Myers did so in his July 2002 debut. He also singled for the second consecutive game, this time driving in his first major-league run, and worked a walk.
If the Phillies’ rotation stays as currently aligned, Nola’s next start would be Saturday against Atlanta.
The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Associated Press contributed to this report.