PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Bryce Harper’s humorous bone — the one he clutched on his proper elbow earlier than the Philadelphia Phillies clinched one other berth within the NL Championship Sequence — gave the workforce, the franchise, even a metropolis, a fleeting scare.
Essentially the most worthwhile of all of the Phillies, Harper insisted he was high quality. Sincere.
The slugger quickly stripped off his jersey and soaked in yet one more postseason bubbly bash contained in the clubhouse, the place his teammates had a T-shirt ready he might put on for the trip house.
On the entrance, “ Atta Boy Harper.”
On the again, “He wasn’t supposed to listen to it.”
First, the Phillies delivered a second straight KO of the Atlanta Braves within the Division Sequence. Then they hit ’em with a punchline on the best way out of city.
Nick Castellanos turned the primary participant to hit a number of homers in consecutive postseason video games, main Philadelphia to a 3-1 victory in Sport 4 on Thursday evening that ushered Atlanta out of the playoffs for the second straight yr.
“I simply suppose there are such a lot of guys which have been in these conditions, not simply now, however their entire lives,” Harper mentioned. “We’ve acquired some actually good gamers. I believe we simply form of vibe collectively. We vibe properly right here. It’s a variety of enjoyable.”
Matt Strahm struck out pinch-hitter Vaughn Grissom with runners on the corners to clinch the collection and ship the Phillies dashing the sphere in wild celebration. Fireworks went off at a frenzied Residents Financial institution Park and the reigning Nationwide League champions have been set to sing “ Dancing On My Personal ” and uncork the Broad Avenue Bubbly.
Harper grabbed his surgically repaired proper elbow after a collision with Matt Olson within the eighth. Olson’s left knee clipped Harper’s elbow on a play at first base that ended the inning. The 2-time NL MVP flexed his elbow after a fast examination and completed the sport.
Trea Turner singled twice, doubled and hit a solo homer within the fifth for a 2-1 lead because the Phillies make one other run at their first World Sequence title since 2008.
They head subsequent week to an all-wild card NLCS and can play the Arizona Diamondbacks, making their first journey since 2007. Sport 1 is Monday in Philadelphia.
The Phillies have been thrilled to return house after a Sport 2 collapse in Atlanta ended with Harper getting doubled up on the bases to finish a 5-4 loss. Within the jubilant Braves clubhouse after the win, shortstop Orlando Arcia cracked, “ attaboy, Harper,” a wisecrack he later acknowledged he by no means supposed for the Phillies to listen to.
Harper hit two homers in Sport 3 and stared down Arcia every time as he trotted round second base.
After Sport 4, the Phillies had their enjoyable, spraying Harper with beer and gleefully yelling, “Attaboy, Harper! Attaboy!”
“Watching after they celebrated after they doubled off Harper, and seeing everyone leap round and dance on the sphere,” Castellanos mentioned, “that was feeling to get coming again and taking part in baseball right here.”
The Phillies withstood a pair of scares in as soon as once more closing out the NL East champion Braves, who had the perfect file in baseball this season at 104-58. Philadelphia went 90-72, ending 14 video games again of Atlanta for the second yr in a row.
Earlier than the collision involving Harper, rookie middle fielder Johan Rojas made an enormous defensive play with the bases loaded to finish the seventh, operating down a deep drive to left-center and denying Ronald Acuña Jr. an extra-base hit that might have put Atlanta forward.
“It takes some time to recover from one thing like this after the yr we had, the expectation we have now right here,” Braves supervisor Brian Snitker mentioned. “We acquired beat by a extremely good membership that has a penchant for this time of yr.”
Sporting throwback powder blue jerseys and maroon hats as they do each Thursday at house, the Phillies took the identical path as a yr in the past to achieve one other NLCS: first a Wild Card Sequence sweep; then they gained Sport 1 in Atlanta and misplaced Sport 2. Like final season, the Phillies returned house and scored six runs within the third inning of a Sport 3 rout.
Then a repeat of a barrage of homers that signaled a knockout victory over their NL East rival, a yr after the Braves gained 101 regular-season video games solely to get handed an early playoff exit by Philadelphia.
“The one factor that I can say is that I’m studying that the season and the postseason are utterly completely different,” Castellanos mentioned.
Atlanta will certainly discover little comfort in not being the one regular-season heavyweight already out of those playoffs. The groups with the 5 finest regular-season information — the Braves, Orioles (101 wins), Dodgers (100), Rays (99) and Brewers (92) — all failed to achieve the LCS.
However this evening belonged to Castellanos, the All-Star proper fielder whose manufacturing tailed off within the second half solely to rally along with his son sitting within the entrance row for the postseason.
An evening after he hit two homers in Sport 3, Castellanos turned the primary Phillies slugger, heck, any slugger in baseball historical past, to drill a number of homers in consecutive playoff video games.
His second one ended the evening for Braves starter and 20-game winner Spencer Strider. Castellanos chased Strider within the sixth with a 415-foot moonshot to left that despatched 45,831 followers at Residents Financial institution Park right into a towel-waving frenzy. Castellanos soaked within the cheers through the pitching change; he poked his head out of the dugout and raised his arms as Phillies followers grew louder.
Castellanos continued to wave his arms towards the gang as he headed to proper discipline within the seventh with the Phillies up 3-1.
“Everytime you see that many individuals supplying you with an acknowledgment in a constructive favor, I imply, there’s not likely a variety of phrases which might be going to have the ability to seize that feeling. However it’s particular,” he mentioned.
Supervisor Rob Thomson once more turned to starter Ranger Suárez to maintain the Phillies within the recreation till turning it over to a parade of hard-throwers within the bullpen. The plan labored as soon as this collection already. Suárez allowed only one hit by 3 2/3 innings in his Sport 1 begin earlier than Thomson handed the ball to 6 relievers in a 3-0 win. The plan on this one, get Suárez at the least twice by the lineup — and the pitcher usually overshadowed by Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola succeeded.
The hard-throwing lefty buzzed by three hitless innings — hitting 95.3 mph when he caught Sean Murphy trying to finish the second — earlier than Austin Riley homered within the fourth for a 1-0 Braves lead.
The early homer, the early deficit, not often troubles these Phillies. They wait for his or her long-ball heavy lineup to ship and — for the second straight recreation — it was Castellanos who tied it 1-all on a solo shot. Castellanos socked one contained in the left-field foul pole, flipped his bat, and pointed to his younger son, Liam, as he crossed the plate.
“I believe if you’re hitting two homers day by day, you are able to do regardless of the hell you need,” Turner mentioned.
Liam was a fixture on the ballpark for many of the summer time and tagged together with Castellanos from the clubhouse to the All-Star Sport. Liam had been absent from the ballpark as soon as college resumed, however his dad has gushed about his presence this postseason.
Father, son — and all of Philadelphia — get at the least yet one more spherical collectively.
The Phillies keep house and get three days off earlier than the NLCS opener.
The Braves have misplaced 10 of their final 11 elimination video games and can ponder what went fallacious after one other empty postseason.
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