HOUSTON (AP) Aaron Nola pitched eight smooth innings, Kyle Schwarber homered and the Philadelphia Phillies defeated the Houston Astros 3-1 on Friday night in a rematch of last year’s World Series.

Nola (2-2) yielded one run and three hits with six strikeouts. Philadelphia manager Rob Thomson called the performance “unbelievable.”

“Nola kept getting better and better as the game went on,” Thomson said. “The seventh inning was so quick that I just made sure he was OK to go out there in the eighth, and he shut them down.”

The right-hander retired 11 straight during one stretch and then the final 12 batters he faced.

“After (the fifth), I felt like I settled down,” Nola said. “I was trying to get some early outs. The key was to get the leadoff guy out, which I did.”

Nola had allowed at least three runs in each of his previous five starts this season.

“He can pitch,” Thomson said. “When he’s got more fastball, he can power past it, but when he doesn’t, he can pitch. He can keep you off balance, get soft contact and still get some swings and misses. His breaking ball was good. He started his secondary pitches for strikes as the game went on. I think that was the difference.”

Schwarber hit a solo home run in the first before Jeremy Peña answered in the bottom half with one of his own.

Cristian Pache gave the Phillies a 2-1 lead in the fifth with an RBI double, and Brandon Marsh added an RBI single in the seventh.

José Alvarado worked the ninth for his fifth save.

Mauricio Dubón’s 20-game hitting streak was snapped for Houston. He went 0 for 4.

Framber Valdez (2-3) allowed three runs and eight hits in seven innings. The All-Star lefty won twice in the 2022 World Series, including the Game 6 clincher, as the Astros beat Philadelphia for their second championship. Valdez gave up two runs over 12 1/3 innings in those two starts.

“Framber was good,” Houston manager Dusty Baker said. “They got some big hits off him with runners in scoring position. … Nola was good tonight, and he’s been good against us before. We didn’t muster too much offense because he was dealing.”

The Astros had a chance to tie it in the fifth with runners on the corners and nobody out, but Jake Meyers hit a slow dribbler to first and Alec Bohm threw out José Abreu at the plate. Nola retired Rylan Bannon and Martín Maldonado to end the threat.


Nick Castellanos robbed Alex Bregman of a solo home run in the bottom of the first, leaping against the right-field wall and snagging Bregman’s long fly for the final out of the inning.

Castellanos fell to the ground and sat against the wall for a few seconds, leaving many wondering if he had caught the ball. But he stood up and tossed it to Pache as they ran off the field.

“That was just me being excited,” Castellanos said. “I jumped up, caught it. I took in the moment for a second sitting down. Then, saw Pache there waiting for me, and it just happened. It felt good.”


The Astros and Phillies have played 10 times since the beginning of October last year. They ended the 2022 regular season with three games in Houston, then played a six-game World Series that concluded Nov. 5.

“To say that we all don’t understand what happened here last year would be a lie,” Castellanos said. “We just had their mascot stick their World Series ring in our face on the jumbotron.”


Phillies: Pache left in the fifth with a right knee injury and will be evaluated further. After leading off second base, he appeared to slip as he was going back to the bag. He limped back to the base and was eventually replaced by Marsh. Thomson said Pache was being examined doctor postgame, but the manager said he wasn’t too concerned and Pache was removed as a precaution.

Astros: OF Yordan Alvarez (neck stiffness) was out of the lineup for a fourth straight game. But he was doing better and remained day-to-day, Baker said. … OF Chas McCormick (lower back) will start a rehabilitation assignment with Double-A Corpus Christi on Saturday. … OF Michael Brantley (right shoulder) started his fourth rehab game with Triple-A Sugar Land.


Phillies RHP Zack Wheeler (2-1, 4.73 ERA) starts Saturday opposite RHP Cristian Javier (2-0, 3.21) in the middle game of the series.


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