The Philadelphia Phillies took a commanding 2-1 lead in the NLDS against the Atlanta Braves on Friday on the back of starting pitcher Aaron Nola and an incredible offensive showing.
The Phillies fans have been waiting 11 years for a home playoff game and they were ready. The ballpark was electric.
The Phillies turned to Aaron Nola to start game 3. Over the course of 6 innings pitched, he struck out six, walked two, and didn’t give up a single earned run. The only run that scored on his watch was when Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson scored in the sixth inning following an error by first baseman Rhys Hoskins.
Nola said that the fans played a huge part in his success. “It was awesome,” Nola said. “It’s been a while since we’ve been in the playoffs here, obviously. And to see the fans like what they were tonight is awesome. The hitters, what they did tonight as well, just sparked it up even more, in my opinion. It’s a fun night and it’s a great team win right there.”
The offense got in on the action of the 9-1 victory. Center fielder Brandon Marsh’s walk to start the third was the spark that began a six-run inning. Marsh then advanced to third base on a throwing error by Braves’ starter Spencer Strider.
Rookie shortstop Bryson Stott worked an incredible at-bat against Strider that resulted in a RBI double that scored Marsh.Kyle Schwarber was then intentionally walked.
Hoskins made Atlanta pay. In the very first pitch of the at-bat, Hoskins launched a three-run home run to left field that scored Stott and Schwarber. To cap off the six-run third inning, Bryce Harper launched a two-run home run to right field that scored J.T. Realmuto who reached on a single.
Harper has been on fire in the postseason. He is slashing .444/.500/.944 with two home runs through four games.
The offense added three insurance runs in the seventh inning. Kyle Schwarber led off with a single, snapping an 0-for-17 streak, before being replaced with Matt Vierling.
Hoskins walked and Realmuto hit into a fielder’s choice. Harper lined a hard double to center field, scoring Vierling to make it 7-1. Nick Castellano then delivered a two-run single to make it 9-1.
The entire sellout crowd of 45,538 fans at Citizens Bank Park could not be contained. The atmosphere was unlike anything this club has experienced in over a decade.
Friday’s win now puts the Phillies in position to clinch on Saturday at home.
Rhys Hoskins celebrates after belting a three-run homer in the third inning of the Phillies 9-1 Game 3 win over the Braves. Photo courtsey of USA TODAY Sports