The Phillies defeated the Atlanta Braves to move on to the NLCS
The Philadelphia Phillies beat the defending World Series champion Atlanta Braves on Saturday, 8-3. The win clinched an NLDS series win for the Phillies — who now will move on to face the San Diego Padres in the National League Championship Series.
Phillies starter Noah Syndergaard pitched well in his three innings of work — surrendering just a third-inning solo home run to Orlando Arcia. He also set Braves leadoff hitter Ronald Acuña Jr. down on strikes twice. Then the bullpen came in and did their job — keeping the Phillies in the game despite Andrew Bellatti allowing a solo home run to Matt Olson in the fourth and José Alvarado a solo shot to Travis d’Arnaud in the seventh.
The three solo home runs accounted for all of Atlanta’s offense, as they recorded just one other hit all game. Each Phillies reliever had at least two strikeouts.
The Phillies offense proved it could handle Braves starter Charlie Morton and their bullpen. Brandon Marsh, hit a three-run home run in the second inning off the Braves starter — giving the team a comfortable lead it would never relinquish.
The most exciting offensive play for the Phillies came in the third, when J.T. Realmuto hit an inside-the-park home run to left-center field. The offense did not stop there, as it put up four more runs — one of which came from a Bryce Harper solo home run in the eighth off Braves closer Kenley Jansen.
The game ended fittingly, as Seranthony Domínguez finished the ninth inning by striking out the side. The reliever has looked dominating in his postseason appearances and manager Rob Thomson will undoubtedly rely on the right-hander going forward.
The Phillies appeared to be the better team — with their starting pitching and bullpen shining in the series. Their offense — particularly the bottom of the lineup — also performed quite well. Perhaps the best news for fans is that the reigning National League MVP has begun to heat up. So far this postseason, Harper is hitting .435 with three home runs and six RBI.
The Phils now advance to the best-of-seven NLCS for the first time since 2010, when they lost to the San Francisco Giants in six games. The club will have two days off to prepare for their upcoming West Coast trip to face the Padres for Games 1 and 2 — which will be beneficial to the pitching staff. The club will return to Citizens Bank Park next weekend for Games 3 to 5.