Go to first NLCS appearance in over a decade – GNT NEWS

Wild Phillies sweep Braves, advance to NLCS for first time since 2010 originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Breaking a 10-year postseason drought clearly wasn’t enough for these Phillies.

They are staying longer than expected at this October baseball tournament. They are riding a wave of special chemistry. They send the division champions home for the winter. And, of course, they dream big.

On a beautiful fall Saturday afternoon, the Phils booked their ticket to the National League Championship Series with an emotional 8-3 victory over the Atlanta Braves in Game 4 of the NL Division Series.

The Phillies won the series three games to one, the last two victories coming in front of huge crowds at Citizens Bank Park.

After entering the postseason with 87 wins and the sixth and final NL playoff spot, the Phillies sent a pair of division champions to St. Louis. Louis Cardinals with 93 wins and the Atlanta Braves with 101 wins.

The Phillies will open play in their first NLCS since 2010 on Tuesday night in Southern California against the winner of the Los Angeles Dodgers-San Diego Padres series. The Padres took a two-game lead into Game 4 on Saturday night.

The Phils have never played the Padres in a postseason series. They played the Dodgers five times in the NLCS and made it to the World Series three times.

After splitting the first two games of the NLDS in Atlanta, the Phillies returned home Friday afternoon and used a six-run third inning, highlighted by homers from Rhys Hoskins and Bryce Harper, to defeat the Braves, 9-1, in 45,538 wild fans who have waited too long for postseason baseball to return to Philly.

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

In the inning after Marsh hit a homer to right field, JT Realmuto greeted reliever Collin McHugh with a laser beam to center field. The ball hit the corner outfield wall and bounced off Braves center fielder Michael Harris II. Right fielder Ronald Acuña Jr. he didn’t move to fix Harris when the ball hit the wall. By the time Harris reached for him, Realmuto was gone, around the bases in a flash. The first inside-the-park home run in Phillies postseason history gave the team a 4-1 lead.

Having already used their three best starting pitchers — Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola and Ranger Suarez — in the series, the Phillies entered the game with a pitching plan that consisted of pulling from a long list of weapons.

The plan worked. Six Phillies pitchers combined for 27 outs to send the defending World Series champion home for just three runs.

Noah Syndergaard got the start against Atlanta hitting righty. He hadn’t started a game in two weeks so he was hoping to get nine outs from him. The right-hander struck out nine and allowed just one run on Orlando Arcia’s solo homer.

Next up was Andrew Bellatti. He struck out three while allowing a run on Matt Olson’s solo homer as the Braves cut the Phillies’ lead to 4-2.

Brad Hand was next. He got three outs in the fifth to protect a two-run lead.

Jose Alvarado recorded three outs in the sixth and saw his teammates score three more runs in the bottom of the inning to make it 7-2. The lefty left in the seventh, allowed a solo homer, but recorded two outs to get the ball into Zach Eflin’s right hand.

Eflin got four outs, three via strikeout, before Harper rocked the crowd with a homer in the bottom of the eighth and Seranthony Dominguez came in to seal the win.

When it was over, Phillies players danced on the lawn at Citizens Bank Park and retired to the clubhouse for their third champagne celebration in less than two weeks.

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