The 2022 Philadelphia Phillies are starting to look like a team of destiny.
The Phils are making their first trip to the National League Championship Series since 2010 after Saturday’s 8-3 win over the Atlanta Braves in Game 4 of a division series.
The defending champion Braves entered the NLDS as heavy favorites, but Saturday’s loss knocked them out way earlier than many expected.
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Brandon Marsh got the party going with a long three-run home run to open up the scoring in the second inning. That frame would be Braves pitcher Charlie Morton’s last after he was hit in the elbow with a comebacker a few batters before Marsh’s homer.
Orlando Arcia put Atlanta on the board with a solo shot in the third, but the Phillies answered back in an unexpected way that put the Citizens Bank Park crowd on the Richter scale.
J.T. Realmuto belted a long fly ball from Colin McHugh into deep center field over the head of Michael Harris II. Harris made every effort to make the catch, but it was just out of his reach and took a funky hop off the wall, skidding away from him. With no backup in sight, Harris was forced to field the ball away from him, which gave Realmuto time to round the bases for an inside-the-park homer and give the Phils a 4-1 lead.
Matt Olson’s solo shot in the fourth brought Atlanta back to within two. But, in the sixth, A.J. Minter put runners on first and second with two outs, prompting Brian Snitker to go with Raisel Iglesias to get one out. But Philly poured it on with three straight two-out RBI singles by Rhys Hoskins, Realmuto and Bryce Harper to give it a 7-2 lead.
Travis d’Arnaud added a solo shot in the seventh, but Harper returned the favor in the eighth.
JT REALMUTO HITS INSIDE-THE-PARK HOME RUN TO INCH PHILLIES CLOSER TO NLCS
The Phillies sneaked into the postseason as the sixth seed with an 87-75 record. They finished in third place in the NL East behind the Braves and New York Mets, who lost in a wild-card series.
If Major League Baseball didn’t add two postseason teams, the Phillies would be sitting at home, extending their postseason drought to 11 years. Instead, they are four wins away from a World Series berth.
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The Phillies now await the winner of the Los Angeles Dodgers-San Diego Padres series, where another upset is brewing. The Padres, who have been owned by the Dodgers the last couple of years, lead the best-of-five series 2-1 with Joe Musgrove on the bump Saturday night in San Diego.