Phillies batter Braves, reach 1st NLCS since 2010
5: 36 PM ET
PHILADELPHIA — Brandon Marsh hit a three-run homer and J.T. Realmuto lined an inside-the-park home run that sent the Philadelphia Phillies bolting headfirst into the National League Championship Series for the first time since 2010 with an 8-3 win over the Atlanta Braves in Game 4 Saturday.
Realmuto became the first catcher to hit an inside-the-parker in postseason history, and Bryce Harper punctuated the romp with a clinching home run that helped the Phillies take the National League Division Series 3-1 against the World Series champion Braves. We had our ups and downs throughout the season, as any club does. Rob Thomson, Phillies manager, said that they knew they would win the season and get back to winning. “And we did. ”
The Phillies will face either the San Diego Padres or the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS. The Padres led the Dodgers by a 2-1 margin going into Game 4 in the NLDS matchup.
Atlanta’s loss meant Major League Baseball hasn’t had a repeat champ since the New York Yankees won three straight from 1998 to 2000.
“Like they heard me, our goal is to win the division when we leave spring-training. You don’t have any chance of doing anything special until you win the division. It’s impossible to predict what will happen, who will be hot, and what you need to do to make it deep into the postseason. Brian Snitker, Braves manager, said.
” And we got in. He said that it didn’t happen this year.
Philadelphia finished third in the NL East, 14 games behind the 101-win Braves this season, but now is hitting on all cylinders under Thomson. He took over for the fired Joe Girardi and transformed a team that was 22-29 in early June. We started slowly and then spiraled. And May was a very difficult month. Thomson stated that it was a very difficult schedule.
” The schedule started to lighten up once we reached June. We started winning and guys started to believe that they could win. He said, “And just kept going.”
The Phillies also used Marsh Madness to keep things moving in October.
Heck was dubbed Mash Madness by the Phillies, who transformed Citizens Bank Park into a cozy home-baseball box for the second consecutive game. They also brought another towel-waving, fired-up crowd along for every long pitch.
After Rhys Hoskins spiked his bat on a three-run shot in a Game 3 win, it was Marsh’s turn in the second inning to hammer his own three-run homer in Game 4.
Braves starter Charlie Morton was hit on his pitching elbow by Alec Bohm‘s single traveling 71.9 mph to lead off the inning. After being checked, Morton allowed a single to Jean Segura and hung a 2-2 curveball that the No. For a 3-0 lead, Marsh, a 9-hitter, smashed deep into the right-field seats.
The 24-year-old Marsh is known as much for his stringy hair and ZZ Top-esque beard as he is for being one of the top young players on the Phillies. Marsh, who also doubled in the fourth, was acquired from the Los Angeles Angels in August just ahead of this season’s trade deadline. Phillies president Dave Dombrowski swung another deadline deal with the Angels that got them Game 4 starter Noah Syndergaard, also known for his long locks.
The Phillies will be able to party and let their hair down.
Reliever Brad Hand was one of six Philadelphia pitchers and got the win.
Syndergaard, bumped from the rotation at the end of the season, wasn’t asked by Thomson to do much other than keep the Phillies in the game, and maybe go unscathed once around the order. Syndergaard delivered with three strikeouts in three innings in a brief throwback to his commanding Thor days with the New York Mets.
Orlando Arcia hit a solo shot off him in the third to make it 3-1.
Realmuto then hustled to make it into postseason history.
He connected to lead off the third inning against reliever Collin McHugh. The ball hit the angled portion of the wall beyond the reach of center fielder Michael Harris II, and the carom rolled along the warning track toward right-center. Ronald Acuna Jr. stood in right field watching the play and didn’t start running toward the ball until Realmuto was well past first base. Realmuto, a catcher who runs exceptionally well, made a headfirst slide into first base well ahead of the relay.
With that, it was bedlam inside the park, as a sellout crowd of 45,660 was deliriously cheering, every sense tingling that there wasn’t going to be a Game 5.
Nope. Only Game 3 of the NLCS was played in Philly on Friday.
Harper scored a solo homer on the eighth, which was the second game of the series for the reigning NL MVP.
It seemed appropriate that the trio of Phillies sluggers, who make up the heart of the franchise, won the sixth game. Hoskins-Realmuto-Harper all had RBI singles that made it 7-2 and a series clinch a mere formality.
The Phillies trotted out 2008 World Series champion Pat Burrell to throw the first ceremonial pitch after his teammate from ’08 Shane Victorino did the same before Game 3. The Phillies’ run of five straight postseason appearances — which included the 2009 NL pennant — stretched from 2007 to 2011 until the franchise was saddled with so many dry years without hope. They don’t have to look at Victorino, Burrell, and other members of that run for reminders of postseason stars — Harper and Marsh have carved out their own October marks with at least one more series.
The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.