Phillies sweep Marlins to earn NL Division Series rematch with MLB-best Braves

Game 1 in the best-of-five set is Saturday in Atlanta.

Philadelphia Phillies' Bryson Stott reacts after hitting a grand slam

Philadelphia Phillies' Bryson Stott reacts after hitting a grand slam against Miami Marlins pitcher Andrew Nardi during the sixth inning of Game 2 in an NL wild-card baseball playoff series, Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Bryson Stott crushed the second grand slam in Philadelphia Phillies postseason history and Aaron Nola tossed seven shutout innings in a performance worthy of a postseason ace that led to a 7-1 win and a two-game sweep over the Miami Marlins in their NL Wild Card Series on Wednesday night.

After making quick work of the surprising Marlins, it’s time for an anticipated rematch.

J.T. Realmuto also homered as the Phillies advanced to another best-of-five NL Division Series against Ronald Acuña Jr., Matt Olson and the Braves. Game 1 is Saturday in Atlanta.

The NL champion Phillies finished third last season in the NL East at 87-75, a full 14 games behind the 101-win Braves, only to beat them in four games in the NLDS. The Braves were even better this season with 104 wins and a sixth straight NL East crown — clinched last month in Philadelphia — while the Phillies again earned a wild card with 90 wins.

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More postseason thrills are surely ahead.

Stott provided one Wednesday when he turned on reliever Andrew Nardi’s first-pitch fastball in the sixth and dumped it into the right-field seats for a 7-0 lead. He slammed his bat as he ran down the first-base line, and the Stott Shot sent Phillies fans into a delirious frenzy with the countdown to a clinch officially on.

Nola followed Game 1 starter Zack Wheeler’s excellent effort with one of his own, and had 46,000 fans on their feet chanting “Let’s Go, Nola!” when he needed a lift.

The one knock on Nola, who is eligible for free agency after the World Series, is his trouble with shutdown innings. After Realmuto went deep to make it 3-0 in the fourth, Nola ran into a jam in the fifth. He put runners on first and second with one out before he got Jesús Sánchez to ground into an inning-ending double play.

Nola picked — more than pitched — his way out of Miami’s only other serious threat.

The Marlins briefly caught a break in the third when Jon Berti’s deep drive into the left-center gap knocked off left fielder Cristian Pache’s glove for a one-out double. Berti then inexplicably tried to steal third and was busted by Nola as the righty went into his delivery. Nola noticed Berti taking off and, instead of throwing a pitch, simply stepped toward third and threw him out.

They’re the kind of mistakes a postseason novice like the Marlins make.

They’re the kind of smart, crucial plays that helped define the Phillies’ postseason runs the last two seasons.

With fans again waving their red rally towels, many wearing Phillies overalls popularized by backup catcher Garrett Stubbs, and the team on the brink of a clinch, the Phillies had their way with Miami starter Braxton Garrett.

The Phillies again had six 20-homer hitters in the lineup but — a night after failing to go deep in Game 1 — again stitched together runs against Garrett.

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Kyle Schwarber ripped an RBI double to right in the third that scored Pache for a 1-0 lead. Pache raced around the bases from first, his helmet still bouncing on the dirt, as he slid headfirst into home. Trea Tuner, the $300 million shortstop, smacked an RBI single that scored Schwarber for a 2-0 lead.

By then, the Game 2 victory seemed inevitable.

After all, there’s a reason the Phillies call the postseason Red October.

They just don’t lose at Citizens Bank. At least, not often.

The Phillies, who won the 2008 World Series at home, moved to 24-11 in the postseason at the ballpark, the top winning percentage in the postseason for any team in any park (minimum 20 games).

Realmuto crushed his fourth career postseason homer off David Robertson in the fourth to make it 3-0.

Miami scored in the ninth on Josh Bell’s RBI single.

Bring a broom

The Phillies joined Minnesota, Arizona and Texas as the teams that swept all four Wild Card Series. There have been seven sweeps — including the Phillies over St. Louis last season — in the eight Wild Card Series during the first two years of expanded playoffs.

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