The Philadelphia Phillies will head back to the National League Championship Series for the second-straight year after defeating the Atlanta Braves 3-1 in Game 4 of the NLDS on Thursday night.
Philadelphia entered Thursday night’s game with a 2-1 series, thanks to a blowout 10-2 win on Wednesday night in Game 3. The Phillies gave the ball to starting pitcher Ranger Suarez, who picked up where he left off in Game 1. Suarez kept the Braves hitters off balance as he allowed three hits, one earned run and recorded two strikeouts in five innings pitched.
The only run Suarez gave up was an Austin Riley solo home run in the fourth inning. As for the Phillies’ hitters, they had the tall task of facing Braves ace Spencer Strider. Strider got out of trouble early in the game, but Philadelphia made him pay as All-Star outfielder Nick Castellanos crushed a home run in the fourth and sixth innings. Castellanos has been one of the best players in the postseason, slashing .391/.440/1.000, with four home runs and five RBI.
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Trea Turner also hit his second home run in as many nights, which was all the offense the Phillies needed to stay in front. Strider wasn’t dominant on Thursday night as he was in Game 1. The flame-throwing right-handed starter finished with seven hits, three earned runs, three walks, and seven strikeouts in 5.2 innings pitched.
The Braves tried to make one more push in the seventh inning as the Phillies’ top two relievers — Jose Alvarado and Craig Kimbrel walked the bases loaded. However, Kimbrel escaped the bases-loaded jam as superstar outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. flew out to center, ending the scoring threat.
JOHAN ROJAS, YOU BEAUTIFUL HUMAN pic.twitter.com/DLWja1CH0K
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With Alvarado and Kimbrel being used in the sixth and seventh innings, Phillies manager Rob Thomson turned to veteran southpaws Gregory Soto and Matt Strahm for the last four outs. It wasn’t easy, but Strahm got the final three outs in the ninth inning, which was capped off by a Vaughn Grissom strikeout.
The Phillies will now get prepared to play the Arizona Diamondbacks for Game 1 of the NLCS on Monday night. Arizona swept the Los Angeles Dodgers in three games in the NLCS and picked up the two-game sweep over the Brewers in the wild-card round.
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