Score Braves vs. Phillies: Brandon Marsh, JT Realmuto, Bryce Harper lead Philadelphia to NLCS with series win


The Atlanta Braves in 2021 played 16 playoff games and never faced elimination. In 2022 they played four and go home to spend the winter.

The Philadelphia Phillies, the sixth seed in the NL in the first full season with six playoff seeds, defeated the defending champions in Game 4 on Saturday, 8-3, clinching the best-of-five NLDS with a 3- 1 series wins.

That’s how it happened Saturday at a raucous Citizens Bank Park.

Marsh, Realmuto Offensive Spark

The Phillies had runners on first and third in the first inning before an out was recorded, but Braves starter Charlie Morton had two strikeouts and a harmless fly ball to end the threat. In the second, a single by Alec Bohm off Morton (we’ll get back to that in a second) and a single by Jean Segura meant the Phillies had runners in the corners again. This time, they made sure to get the runners home by putting the bat on the ball. Brandon Marsh, take him away.

The three-run shot caused a frenzy in the park.

The next run the Phillies scored was historic. JT Realmuto hit an inside-the-park home run (full story here), the first inside-the-park home run in Phillies playoff history and the first by a catcher in playoff history.

As the late great Mel Allen would have said, “how about that?”

Realmuto would add an RBI single in the sixth (it was an infield single, so he kept flashing those wheels) during a rally in which the Phillies defeated the Braves. It was only a 4-2 Phillies lead before that half inning, but three two-out runs by the Phillies essentially froze it. Rhys Hoskins and Bryce Harper also had RBI singles and Harper doubled with a solo home run in the eighth.

Segura also deserves mention for his two-hit, two-run effort from the eighth hole.

Morton leaves injured after comeback

Remember when I said we’d go back to Morton? Also, remember when he got hit with a line drive in Game 1 of the World Series last year? He remained in the game in both instances before having to be eliminated. It turned out that he was a broken fibula in the World Series. This time, it seems that his elbow was hit with the lining (full story here).

Note that Segura’s single and Marsh’s home run off Morton both came after he was hit with the line drive. He finished the second inning and then came back for the third, but after a few warm-up pitches, he essentially retired from the game.

Morton ended up giving up three runs on four hits in two innings of work.

Syndergaard, bullpen put it together

Since arriving from the Angels at the trade deadline, Noah Syndergaard had been mediocre at best. He also had an inning of relief work in Game 2, so it might have been a bit unnerving to some people when the Phillies drafted him as the Game 4 starter. However, the plan heading into the game was just to have Syndergaard topped the Braves’ lineup once.

He did exactly that. In three innings of work, he allowed just one solo home run (one run on one hit) and struck out three, all on just 35 pitches. Basically, he did his job and went with the Phillies in the lead. Now they needed six more innings.

Andrew Bellatti pitched an inning, allowed a solo homer and staved off a collapse. Veteran lefty Brad Hand went a scoreless fifth and struck out two. Jose Alvarado posted a sixth going 1-2-3 with two strikeouts, then stayed on and allowed a solo homer before getting the first two outs in the seventh. Former starter Zach Eflin was next and went 1 1/3 clean innings with three strikeouts. For the ninth, it was Seranthony Domínguez.

Take note that the Braves’ runs are solo home runs. This was the best power hitting team in the league all season. Phillies pitchers made sure to keep the bases clear for most of the game, meaning all that damage was limited.


For the Phillies, they will wait for the winner of the other SDLN. Maybe it’s the Padres with a Game 4 win or wait for the Dodgers or Padres after Game 5. Regardless, Games 1 and 2 will be in Southern California before the Phillies return home in what will obviously be a hero’s welcome at Citizens Bank Park. Boy, was he great in Games 3 and 4 of this series.

What a trip for the Phillies. They were from May 21 to 29. They fired their manager. They lost 2021 MVP Bryce Harper to a broken thumb in late June. They were just three games over .500 until a winning streak in late July. They lost 10 of 13 at one point through the end of September and had to fight almost to the end of the regular season just to make the playoffs. They trailed 2-0 entering the ninth inning of Game 1 of the Wild Card Series. And now they’re in the NLCS for the first time since 2010.

On the other hand, the Braves had one of the longest extended runs in regular season history. They went 78-34 after the schedule changed to June. They outscored the Mets to win the NL East despite facing a 10 1/2 game deficit. Now, the defending champions got a glimpse of just how fickle a postseason baseball lover can be. They won 88 games and the World Series last year. This year, they won 101 games and no postseason series.


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