Nick Castellanos hit 2 home runs as the Phillies advanced to the NLCS

Jesse RogersESPN staff writerOctober 12, 2023, 11:17 PM ET2 minute reading

PHILADELPHIA — The best home run-hitting team in baseball got a taste of its own medicine as the Philadelphia Phillies took a 3-1 Division Series victory over the Atlanta Braves in Game 4 on Thursday night.

This is the second year in a row that Philadelphia has swept the National League East winner in four games. The Phillies will face the Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League Championship Series starting Monday in Philadelphia.

Phillies outfielder Nick Castellanos became the first player in history to record back-to-back multihomer games in the postseason as he took home Braves starter Spencer Strider twice deep in the fourth and sixth innings. In between, shortstop Trey Turner also homered while collecting three hits in Atlanta’s sweep. Turner was 0-for-17 in his career at Strider before Thursday.

In all, the Phillies outscored the Braves 11 to 3 in the series, including nine in two games at Citizens Bank Park. In doing so, they tied the 2015 Cubs for most home runs in postseason games.

The play of the game came in the seventh inning with the Braves loading the bases, two outs and probable NL MVP, Ronald Acuna Jr., at the plate. He blasted a 2-2 pitch off reliever Craig Kimbrel that center fielder Johan Rojas tracked 379 feet down from home plate. The Citizens Bank crowd erupted as Rojas nearly climbed the wall to make the catch.

Atlanta had a chance in the ninth after the first two batters reached base, but Kevin Pillar and Eddie Rosario struck out, while pinch hitter Van Grissom struck out.

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Meanwhile, the Braves, who won an MLB-best 104 games in the regular season, were eliminated in the divisional round for the second year in a row after winning the World Series in 2021. An injury to starter Charlie Morton took a toll on their rotation. Max Fried, who pitched just four innings in the Braves’ Game 2 win, did one. But their biggest problem was that they led baseball in runs scored and home runs, but managed just eight runs in four playoff games.

The win sends the Phillies back to the NLCS for the second consecutive season. They swept the San Diego Padres in five games last year before falling to the Houston Astros in the World Series. The win also meant that no team with more than 90 wins would play in the league championship series — and thus the World Series. This is the first time both league championship series have featured teams with 90 or fewer wins in the regular season, excluding shortened seasons.

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