Sports

Phillies eliminate champion Braves and advance to NLCS

PHILADELPHIA — Bryce Harper stood in the clubhouse, as motionless as when he contemplates a home run he just hit. Stoic, he accepted his jubilant fellow Philadelphians pouring bottles of champagne and beer on him.

Even Harper’s swim goggles didn’t sufficiently protect him from the alcohol spilling down his cheeks.

“It’s very cold, but it’s hot,” Rhys Hoskins yelled into Harper’s face.

A team that was completely lost in May suddenly looks like a candidate for the title in October.

Brandon Marsh hit a three-run homer and JT Realmuto added a field trip homer as the Phillies advanced to the NL Championship Series for the first time since 2010, beating the Atlanta Braves 8-3 on Saturday. monarchs of the last World Series.

Realmuto became the first catcher to hit an inside-the-park homer in postseason history, while Bryce Harper left Game 4 of the series all but resolved with a home run.

The Phillies won the division series 3-1 and will face either San Diego or the Los Angeles Dodgers in the next round.

Philadelphia finished third in the Eastern Division, 14 games behind the Braves, who posted 101 wins this regular season. However, the Phillies look very different under manager Rob Thompson, who replaced the fired Joe Girardi and turned around a team that languished with a 22-29 record in early June.

“We had ups and downs during the season, just like any other team. But we all knew we would respond at some point and start winning again,” Thompson said. “And we did.”

Atlanta’s elimination means there hasn’t been a repeat Major League Baseball team since the New York Yankees won three straight titles from 1998-2000.

“As I told the players, the goal when we finish preseason training is to win the division. You don’t get to do anything special, because you never know what’s going to happen. You don’t know which team is going to be hot, which things are going to work out hope you make a lot of progress in the postseason,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said.

“And we did. But the rest didn’t happen for us this year.”

It’s happening for Philadelphia, which finished third in the Eastern Division at 87-7, trailing the Braves and New York Mets.

But the Phillies swept Central Division champion St. Louis 2-0 in the new wild-card series.

And after winning a duel in Atlanta, they looked much more powerful at home. Citizens Bank Park vibrated for two consecutive duels, with a crowd that did not tire of jumping and waving towels.

“I felt like I was with them there,” Harper said. “They have been with us every day… and this is what they wanted to see, they wanted us to play with everything, nothing more.”

For the Braves, Venezuelans Ronald Acuña Jr. 4-0, William Contreras 3-0, Oswaldo Arcia 3-2 with a run scored and an RBI. Puerto Rican Eddie Rosario 3-0.

For the Phillies, Dominican Jean Segura 4-3 with two runs scored.

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