By DAN GELSTON AP Sports Writer

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Aaron Nola tossed two-hit ball over seven shutout innings and Nick Castellanos hit a two-run homer to send the Philadelphia Phillies off to London with the best record in the National League after a 2-0 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday.

The Phillies completed the three-game sweep of the NL Central leaders and improved to 44-19 overall as they head overseas for a weekend set against the New York Mets.

Nola (8-2) struck out five, walked none and has almost seemed like a bargain this season for the NL East leaders after signing a $172 million, seven-year contract in the offseason.

“It’s where I always wanted to be,” Nola said.

Jeff Hoffman tossed a scoreless eighth and José Alvarado worked the ninth for his 11th save.

Brewers starter Aaron Ashby (0-2) struggled with command in his second start after spending the 2023 season out of the majors as he recovered from shoulder surgery, though he did make seven minor league appearances.

“He’s a big part of this,” Brewers manager Pat Murphy said. “It’s been a long road for him. It’s kind of a big day that he’s back on the hill for us. He didn’t draw an easy straw in his first opponent.”

Oh, just the best team in the National League.

The Phillies scored seven runs in the three games while Milwaukee only managed two.

“Taking these on the chin here against the best record in the National League, hopefully that sets in the right place for these guys and they understand, hey, we’re right there,” Murphy said. “I know this will be a good thing for our team to go through.”

Ashby allowed two-out walks in the second and third innings but finished unscathed. He wasn’t so lucky escaping his walks in the fifth. Ashby walked the first two batters before he got slugger Kyle Schwarber to hit into a double play. With a runner at third, Castellanos hit a 90 mph changeup into the left-center seats for his eighth homer of the year and a 2-0 lead.

Castellanos sent the Phillies to their fifth walk-off win of the season with a 10th inning double a night earlier. The 2023 All-Star has been on an uptick at the plate of late after a slow start, hitting .273 on the homestand.

“He’s not chasing much,” manager Rob Thomson said. “He’s using the entire field.”

Nola only ran into trouble in the sixth after William Contreras led off with a double and reached third base on a groundout. Willy Adames then hit a grounder to third that Alec Bohm fielded and threw a perfect strike to backup catcher Garrett Stubbs that nailed Adames for the second out. Nola retired former Phillies slugger Rhys Hoskins — booed in this at-bat — to end the inning.

ASHBY’S RETURN

In his only other outing with the Brewers this year, he gave up eight runs — four earned — over 3 2/3 innings in a 10-8 loss at Cincinnati on April 8.

The 26-year-old Ashby is 1-3 with a 6.80 ERA in 10 appearances for Nashville this season, but he had allowed two runs over 12 1/3 innings in his last two starts.

The Brewers signed Ashby in July 2022 to a $20.5 million, five-year contract. He walked five, threw 91 pitches and gave up Castellanos’ homer over five innings.

“I think Ash believes, I should be here already,” Murphy said. “That’s a good thing to have him hungry and not just excited but hungry. Hey, I deserve to be here.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Brewers: LHP Robert Gasser was placed on the 15-day injured list with a left flexor strain. Gasser had posted a 2-0 record and 2.57 ERA in five starts since making his major league debut last month. Gasser experienced tightness and soreness after his five-inning appearance Saturday in a 4-3, 10-inning victory over the Chicago White Sox.

Phillies: LHP Ranger Suárez (9-1, 1.70 ERA) is on track to start Saturday against the Mets in London after he took a comebacker on his pitching hand in his last start. … C J.T. Realmuto had the day off after he took the brunt of a collision at the plate and absorbed all the pain after a foul ball hit him in the groin area. Thomson chuckled when he said Realmuto was “sore all over.”

UP NEXT

The Brewers head to Detroit for the start of a three-game series that opens Friday with neither team having named a starter.

London! The Phillies were set to leave after Thursday’s game — passport reminders were on clubhouse screens — for a two-game set against the New York Mets at London Stadium for the league’s third visit in the past five years. The Mets give the ball on Saturday to LHP Sean Manaea (3-2, 3.63 ERA).

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