Nola brothers face each other for first time as major leaguers

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Austin and Aaron Nola

Brothers Aaron and Austin Nola had never played against each other as pitcher versus batter in an official game. So, it was a special moment for both major-leaguers on Saturday night, when Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Aaron Nola faced his Austin of the San Diego Padres.

It appeared Aaron would have another reason for a memorable game, since he had a perfect game through the first 6 1/3 innings.

In their first confrontation in the second inning, Aaron used three fastballs to strike out his brother looking. It came as part of seven consecutive strikeouts Aaron had collected into the fourth inning. Austin flied out to second base in his second at-bat in the fourth inning.

It seemed Aaron was locked in on the mound, using his four-seam fastball and sinker to set up his other pitches. He had a low pitch count through the sixth inning.

But then in the bottom of the seventh inning, San Diego’s Trent Grisham got on base due to an error by Philadelphia first baseman Brad Miller, thus spoiling the perfect game. Aaron’s no-hitter then faded away when Manny Machado followed with an RBI single that tied the score, 1-1. Aaron issued his first walk of the game to his brother that inning.

Phillies manager Joe Girardi stayed with Aaron going into the eighth inning. He led off with a double and later scored when Didi Gregorius was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. The Phillies added another run to take a 3-1 lead.

Aaron was still in control of the game going into the ninth inning, as he had piled up 10 strikeouts. However, with Fernando Tatis Jr. on first base with a walk in the ninth inning and two outs, Jake Cronenworth slammed a home run to deep center field to tie the game, 3-3. Aaron was lifted from the game and replaced by Ian Kennedy to finish out the inning.

The Padres wound up winning the game in the tenth inning when Adam Frazier scored on a wild pitch by Phillies pitcher Connor Brogdon.

Aaron’s fine pitching effort wound up being wasted. His pitching line included 8 2/3 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 11 SO, 2 BB. The loss dropped the Phillies to five games behind Atlanta in the NL East.

Austin went 0-for-2, with a walk, against his brother. He later had a single against Kennedy.

The Nola brothers were teammates at LSU for one season in 2012, when Austin was a senior shortstop and Aaron a freshman pitcher. They actually had faced each other before, but it came during an intra-squad game at LSU.

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Richard Cuicchi

New Orleans baseball historian

Richard Cuicchi, Founder of the Metro New Orleans Area Baseball Player Database and a New Orleans area baseball historian, maintains TheTenthInning.com website. He also authored the book, Family Ties: A Comprehensive Collection of Facts and Trivia About Baseball’s Relatives. He has contributed to numerous SABR-sponsored Bio Project and Games Project books.

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