Nick Castellanos made history by becoming the first player to hit multiple home runs in consecutive postseason games, leading the Philadelphia Phillies to a 3-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves in Game 4 of their NL Division Series. This win eliminated the Braves from the playoffs for the second year in a row.
Matt Strahm sealed the victory for the Phillies by striking out Vaughn Grissom with runners on the corners. The Phillies celebrated their win by setting off fireworks and ringing the Liberty Bell.
There was a scare for the Phillies when Bryce Harper injured his surgically repaired right elbow in a collision in the eighth inning, but he was able to stay in the game.
Trea Turner contributed to the Phillies’ win with two singles, a double, and a solo home run in the fifth inning.
The Phillies will now face the Arizona Diamondbacks in the all-wild card NLCS, marking the Diamondbacks’ first trip to the NLCS since 2007. The series will begin on Monday in Philadelphia.
The Phillies had to overcome some challenges in order to reach the NLCS. Rookie center fielder Johan Rojas made a crucial defensive play in the seventh inning, preventing the Braves from taking the lead. The Phillies followed a similar path to last season, sweeping the Wild Card Series, winning Game 1 on the road, and scoring six runs in the third inning of Game 3.
Unfortunately for the Braves, they are not the only top regular-season team to be eliminated from the playoffs. The Braves, along with the Baltimore Orioles, Los Angeles Dodgers, Tampa Bay Rays, and Milwaukee Brewers – the teams with the five best regular-season records – all failed to reach the LCS.
The star of the night was Nick Castellanos, who hit two home runs for the second consecutive game. He became the first player in baseball history to achieve this feat in back-to-back playoff games.
Castellanos’ second home run, a 415-foot moonshot to left field, ended the night for Braves starter Spencer Strider and sent the Phillies fans into a frenzy. Castellanos continued to celebrate with the crowd as he headed to right field in the seventh inning.
Manager Rob Thomson once again relied on starter Ranger Suárez, who pitched three hitless innings, before turning to the bullpen. The plan worked, as Suárez kept the Braves at bay and the Phillies secured the win.
The Phillies, along with their fans, including Castellanos’ young son, Liam, will enjoy at least one more round of playoff baseball as they prepare for the NLCS.
In other notable plays, center fielder Michael Harris II made crucial defensive plays in Game 2 to help the Braves secure a win, and he made another impressive sliding catch in this game.
The Phillies now have three days off before the NLCS opener, while the Braves will reflect on another disappointing postseason performance.