Hits are similar… but ATL is “one hit” short of PHI

PHI hits 6 homers, 8 runs to defeat ATL
ATL held to two homers in NLDS loss

The Philadelphia Phillies had 11 hits, while the Atlanta Braves had 10. Despite the similar hit totals, it was the “big one” that decided the outcome of the game.

The Philadelphia Phillies took a commanding 10-2 victory over Atlanta in Game 4 of the 2023 Major League Baseball National League Division Series (NLDS) on Sunday at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to take a 2-1 series lead.

Philadelphia and Atlanta were evenly matched at one game apiece heading into this matchup. The Phillies won Game 1 on Aug. 8, 3-0, behind a Bryce Harper performance, and Atlanta came back to tie the series with a come-from-behind victory in Game 2 on Aug. 10, hitting a pair of two-run homers in the final inning.

The teams combined for 21 hits in the game, 11 of which came from Philadelphia and 10 from Atlanta. In what looked like it was going to be a slugfest, Philadelphia broke through in the bottom of the third inning.

It wasn’t as if Atlanta couldn’t capitalize on its scoring chances. Atlanta converted two of their four scoring chances on the day. On the contrary, Philadelphia scored on only two of their five scoring chances. However, the difference was in the long balls.

While Atlanta was held to one double and no home runs, Philadelphia hit eight long balls, including six home runs. In the top of the third inning, Atlanta quickly put runners in scoring position when Ronald Acuña Jr. doubled to right field with one out. Aji Albies followed with an RBI single on a low knuckle curveball from Aaron Nola.

But the early lead was short-lived. In the bottom of the third inning, Philadelphia leadoff hitter Nick Castellanos pulled a two-pitch body sinker from Atlanta starter Bryce Alder. The pitch traveled about 96.8 miles per hour (155.8 kilometers per hour) and cleared the left field fence. Atlanta scored on two hits, but the Phillies easily tied the game with a single home run.

With the game in the balance, the Phillies took the lead for good. In the bottom of the third, Bryce Harper stepped to the plate with runners on second and third. Elder’s four-seam slider landed in the middle of the plate and Harper swung hard. The pitch hit the sweet spot and blossomed into the top of the right field fence at a bullet-like speed of 109.5 miles per hour (176.2 kilometers per hour). The Phillies extended their lead to 4-1 on Harper’s three-run shot. A single and a walk put runners on first and second before J.T. Realmuto lined a two-run double to left-center field.

After scoring six runs on three hits in the third inning alone, the Phillies completed the comeback in the bottom of the fifth when Harper led off with a solo home run to center field off Atlanta’s third pitcher, Brad Hand. Atlanta tied the game in the top of the sixth with an RBI single by Orlando Arcia, but the Phillies answered with a solo shot by Trey Turner in the bottom of the sixth. The Phillies added two more solo home runs in the eighth inning from Castellanos and Brandon Marsh to win 10-2.

The home runs, which came at crucial moments, completely destroyed Atlanta’s chances of catching up. Efficiency. While Atlanta managed just two runs on 10 hits and three walks, the Phillies scored 10 runs on 11 hits and five walks. Eight of those 10 runs came on home runs.

The silence in Atlanta’s center field has been eerie. After leading the majors with 307 home runs in the regular season, they’ve hit just two in the postseason. Acuña Jr. and Matt Olson, who became the first players in major league history to join the “40-70 Club” (40 home runs, 70 doubles), have not hit a single home run.

Home runs have been the difference between victory and defeat in this Major League Baseball Division Series. The Arizona Diamondbacks totaled nine home runs in Games 1-3 to advance to the National League Championship Series (NLCS) over the Los Angeles Dodgers (one home run). The Houston Astros (10 homers) and Texas Rangers (5 homers) also advanced to the American League Championship Series (ALCS) with “one big blowout” over the Minnesota Twins (5 homers) and Baltimore Orioles (3 homers), respectively. It’s no coincidence that through three games, Philadelphia has hit eight home runs to Atlanta’s two, giving them a series lead.메이저놀이터

Atlanta now stands on a precipice. A loss in the upcoming Game 4 would punch Philadelphia’s ticket to the ALCS for the second straight season, beginning in 2022. The Phillies will need to get one over on Atlanta to turn the series around.

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