Phils to take on Braves in NLDS

PHILADELPHIA — With their focus trained on present success but with a nostalgic ode to playoffs past, the Phillies trounced the Miami Marlins 7-1 Monday night, sweeping their NL Wild Card series and setting up an NL Divisional Series date against a favorite foe, the Atlanta Braves.

Aaron Nola, his future with the team uncertain, didn’t have his best fastball on this night yet brilliantly limited the Marlins to no runs and only three hits in a seven-inning stint.

The Phillies scratched out a pair of runs in the third inning on a double down the right field line by Kyle Schwarber, scoring Cristian Pache all the way from first base. Trea Turner then followed with an RBI single.

In the fourth, J.T. Realmuto greeted reliever David Robertson with a rocket to left that landed deep in the seats for a 3-0 lead.

Meanwhile, Nola was relying on his defense to escape trouble. He picked off Jon Berti in the third inning, catching him leaving a tad too early in an attempted steal of third base. And in both the fifth and sixth innings, Nola induced Marlins to hit into double plays. The Phillies, once an inconsistent outfit when it came to defense, fielded the ball superbly in the two games.

Nola’s craftiness in escaping trouble was rewarded in the bottom of the sixth, as Bryson Stott came up with the bases loaded to face hard-throwing lefty reliever Andrew Nardi. Stott saw a belt-high, middle-in fastball on the first pitch and slammed it deep to right-center for a grand slam, bringing memories of Shane Victorino’s grand slam in the first round of the 2008 playoffs against Milwaukee’s CC Sabathia.

Nola pitched through the seventh then called it an evening after 88 pitches, allowing the three hits with a walk and hit-batter, and striking out three.

He was relieved by sudden September grad Orion Kerkering, who breezed through a 1-2-3 eighth inning that included a Super Slider Strikeout of Jesus Sanchez. Gregory Soto cleaned up in the ninth, allowing a run but nonetheless igniting a by-now familiar celebration on the field.

Game 1 of the NLDS is slated for Saturday at a time to be determined. Phils to take on Braves in NLDS

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