CLEARWATER, Fla. — Slightly new look for the Phanatic, same old results for Aaron Nola.
Nola tossed two scoreless innings Sunday and got early run support in the Phillies’ 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the spring-training home-opener at Spectrum Field.
“I want to try to get ground balls and I felt like I did that today,” said Nola, who allowed three hits and threw 18 of 28 pitches for strikes. “I got some ground balls. I got a double play and it’s satisfying to get double plays.”
Nola presumably will be the Phillies’ opening-day starter for a third consecutive season. Manager Joe Girardi has not yet made any declarations, although he said he has “a pretty good idea who it’s going to be."
The Phillies sent nine batters to the plate and scored four runs in the first inning. Jean Segura lined an RBI single before Jay Bruce’s two-run double and an RBI single by Kyle Garlick. Bruce finished with two doubles in as many at-bats.
Making a start in center field, Roman Quinn made a pair of nice catches in the fifth inning.
Before the game, the Phillies unveiled a mini-makeover to their beloved mascot. The Phanatic has a shorter, more cylindrical snout, star-shaped eyelids, and a slight rearward shift of his famous belly. He also grew a longer tail with blue feathers and developed scale-like features on both arms.