June 7, 2023

Phillies move onto the NLCS with Game 4 victory


Photo via the Philadelphia Phillies

The Phillies ended a 10-year postseason drought two weeks ago, swept the Cardinals last week in St. Louis, and now they’ve defeated the reigning World Series champions.

The Phillies, who finished with 87 wins, won the NLDS three games to one over the 101-win Braves with the last two wins coming in front of sold-out crowds at Citizens Bank Park.

The Phillies will play in their first NLCS since 2010 on Tuesday night, somewhere in Southern California, against the Los Angeles Dodgers-San Diego Padres division series winner. The Padres took a two-games-to-one lead into Game 4 Saturday night. Most importantly, they will have their top three starting pitchers — Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola, and Ranger Suarez — rested and ready to go.

The momentum of Friday’s beating carried over to Saturday. Brandon Marsh, who began the six-run third inning with a walk Friday, belted a three-run homer against Charlie Morton with one out in the second inning and the Phils were off and running as the crowd of 45,660 waved the red rally towels in the stands.

An inning after Marsh’s homer, J.T. Realmuto smocked a beam to left-center field. The ball hit off the State Farm angled wall and bounced away from Michael Harris II. Ronald Acuña Jr. did not move to back up Harris as the ball hit the wall and rolled away from him. By the time Harris retrieved it, Realmuto was gone, around the bases in a flash. The first inside-the-park home run in Phillies postseason history, and the first by a catcher in postseason history, gave them a 4-1 lead.

With Wheeler, Nola, and Suarez already being used in the series, the Phillies went into the game with a plan that consisted of getting outs from a long list of arms, and it worked.

Six Phillies pitchers combined to strike out 15 and walk none as they got the 27 outs needed to send the defending World Series champions home on just three runs. 

Noah Syndergaard got the start against Atlanta’s righty-heavy batting order. He had not started a game in two weeks so the hope was to get nine outs from him. The right-hander delivered those nine outs and allowed just one run on a solo homer by Orlando Arcia. Syndergaard did all that was needed for the Phils.

Andrew Bellatti was next. He got three outs while allowing a solo homer by Matt Olson as the Braves cut the Phillies’ lead to 4-2. Brad Hand was called upon next. He got three outs in the fifth to protect the two-run lead. Jose Alvarado recorded three outs in the sixth and saw the offense score three more runs in the bottom of the inning to go up, 7-2.

The lefty stayed on for the seventh, allowed a solo homer, but recorded two outs to get the ball to Zach Eflin. Eflin racked up four outs, three from a strikeout, before Harper sent the crowd into a frenzy with a homer in the bottom of the eighth.

Being at the game, this was the moment where it really set in.

Then it was Seranthony Dominguez who came on for the ninth and closed out the win.

When it was over, Phillies players danced on the field with their families at Citizens Bank Park, then retreated to the clubhouse for their third champagne celebration in less than two weeks.

After everyone’s doubts, the Phillies, who were 21-29 on June 1 when they fired Joe Giradi, are headed to the NLCS.

1 thought on “Phillies move onto the NLCS with Game 4 victory

  1. Wow. Let’s go.
    Best weekend ever being there and experiencing it with you.
    Could not ask for anything more for you to see this run.
    Keep the passion and GREAT reporting as always.

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