NEW YORK -- Punch “Citi Field” into your GPS and it will take you to 41 Tom Seaver Way in Queens, the official address of the New York Mets.
But for 10 batters Friday, Aaron Nola turned it into his house.
Nola, the Phillies’ star pitcher, tied a major-league record by striking out 10 consecutive Mets batters in the first game of a doubleheader. Fittingly, the mark was set 51 years ago by Seaver, the late Hall of Famer and greatest player in Mets history.
After putting the Mets’ first two batters on base in the first inning via Jeff McNeil’s walk and a double by Francisco Lindor, Nola struck out Michael Conforto, Pete Alonso, and Dominic Smith to get out of trouble without giving up a run. He caught James McCann looking before fanning Kevin Pillar and Luis Guillorme in the second inning.
The Phillies’ record for most consecutive strikeouts was seven, set by Steve Carlton in 1981 and matched by Curt Schilling in 1996 and Jerad Eickhoff in 2018. Nola tied that mark by freezing Mets pitcher Taijuan Walker on a 91-mph fastball and beat it by getting McNeil to swing through a sinker. He closed the inning by whiffing Lindor.
Nola joined Seaver with his 10th consecutive strikeout by getting Conforto to wave at a changeup after fouling off a fastball and a curve. He got two strikes on Alonso, too, but with history hanging in the balance, the Mets’ first baseman hit a cue-shot double down the right-field line.
Like most Phillies fans, manager Joe Girardi was wondering what to expect from Nola, who has struggled for the last six weeks and was coming off the shortest outing of his career last Saturday in San Francisco. What the Phillies got in the early going against the Mets was vintage Nola. He pounded the strike zone with his fastball, got eight swings and misses with a nasty curveball, and sprinkled in his changeup and sinker.
Oh, and Nola also picked up two hits, including an RBI double to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead in the fifth inning of the seven-inning doubleheader opener.
» READ MORE: Aaron Nola’s 10 strikeouts: a closer look