Philadelphia Phillies, Arizona Diamondbacks advance to NLDS with wild-card sweeps

It was a short 2023 postseason in Milwaukee and Miami.

Arizona and Philadelphia made it four sweeps in the wild-card round Wednesday, as the Diamondbacks eliminated the Brewers with a 5-2 victory and the Phillies demolished Miami 7-1 to finish out the wild-card round.

No. 5 Miami Marlins at No. 4 Philadelphia Phillies, Game 2: Phillies 7, Marlins 1 (Philadelphia wins 2-0)

Game summary:

The Philadelphia Phillies’ quest to get back to the World Series is moving forward.

The Phillies are on to the NLDS after they rolled past the Marlins on Wednesday at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. The win gave them a 2-0 series sweep over the Marlins and set up their matchup with the Atlanta Braves in the next round. It also marked the fourth straight series sweep of the day across Major League Baseball.

The Phillies jumped up early once again Wednesday, thanks to a J.T. Realmuto double that opened scoring in the second and a pair of RBI from Trea Turner and Kyle Schwarber in the third. Realmuto returned in the fourth for a deep solo home run that suddenly gave the Phillies a 3-0 lead. It was their first home run of the postseason, and Realmuto’s 21st this season.

While Aaron Nola held things down on the mound, the Phillies cruised into the sixth with the three-run lead. That’s when Bryson Stott sealed the deal with a grand slam (more on that later).

Key moment:

Stott all but ended the game Wednesday with just the second grand slam in Phillies postseason history. After the Marlins swapped in Andrew Nardi on the mound in the sixth, Stott drilled a deep shot into right field to clear the bases — which sent Citizens Bank Park into a frenzy.

That scored Alec Bohm, who hit a double to left to start the inning, Bryce Harper, who was walked, and Nick Castellanos, who reached first after an error at third base.

Stott now has 16 home runs this season. The 25-year-old entered the night with a .280 average and 62 RBI in just his second season with the Phillies. Shane Victorino is the only other Phillies player to hit a grand slam in the playoffs.

Impact player:

Though it wasn’t the best night of his career, Nola got the job done every single time the Marlins put him in a tough spot Wednesday.

The Phillies’ right-hander, after Zack Wheeler struck out eight in the team’s 4-1 win Tuesday, cruised in his start Wednesday. He held the Marlins scoreless through seven innings on the mound and gave up just three hits on the night, a jam the Phillies got out of in the fifth when Jesus Sánchez grounded into a double-play.

Nola pulled out a nine-pitch inning in the sixth, too, and kept the Phillies in full control of the game before he was replaced by Orion Kerkering in the eighth. He finished the night with three strikeouts and allowed just three hits.

What’s next?

The Marlins’ season is over. The Phillies, having punched their ticket to the NLDS, get two days off before facing the Braves in Game 1 on Saturday in Atlanta. Game time and starting pitchers are still to be announced.

No. 6 Arizona Diamondbacks at No. 3 Milwaukee Brewers, Game 2: Diamondbacks 5, Brewers 2 (Arizona wins 2-0)

Game summary:

The Arizona Diamondbacks advanced to the NLDS with a 2-0 sweep of the Milwaukee Brewers in the wild-card round. Wednesday’s 5-2 win was much like the D-backs’ Game 1 win Tuesday. The Brewers jumped to a multi-run lead in the early innings, scoring twice in the first off Arizona starting pitcher Zac Gallen, then got shut down for the remainder of the game as the D-backs’ offense found its feet.

Alek Thomas hit a solo homer in the fifth to cut the lead to 2-1, then star rookie Corbin Carroll hit a double to begin a four-run rally in the sixth. Ketel Marte hit a single to take the lead.

The Brewers had a chance to tie it in the bottom of the eighth inning, when they loaded the bases against D-backs reliever Kevin Ginkel with one out, but rookie Andrew Saalfrank came in and kept the inning scoreless with a fielder’s choice on a comebacker to the mound and a groundout to second.

Key moment:

The most impactful moment for Arizona might not be felt until a few days from now. Catcher Gabriel Moreno, who has quietly been one of the better catchers in baseball this season, exited the game due to a head injury in the bottom of the third inning after taking a backswing to the helmet.

Moreno was replaced by backup Jose Herrera, who holds a career .503 OPS in two seasons. The next catcher on Arizona’s depth chart is Seby Zavala, who joined the team after Sept. 1 and is not eligible for the postseason roster. If Moreno isn’t ready in time for the next round, the D-backs will be mighty thin at catcher.

Impact player:

The Diamondbacks battled for wild-card positioning until the final game of the regular season, leaving them to wait until Game 2 of this wild-card series to start Gallen. It wound up working out just fine.

The D-backs’ ace, an NL Cy Young Award candidate, shook off the Brewers’ first-inning barrage and held them scoreless for the rest of his six-inning start. He threw 32 pitches in that first inning and only 68 the remainder of the night.

What’s next?

Milwaukee’s season is over. Arizona gets two days off before facing the Dodgers in Game 1 of the NLDS on Saturday in Los Angeles. Game time and starting pitchers are still to be announced.

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