Braxton Garrett and Aaron Nola went blow-for-blow in the first inning, striking out two batters each. Nola worked a clean top half in the second inning, and Brax stranded a one-out double in the bottom.
After that, disaster struck. With a 3-2 count on Jacob Stallings and Luis Arraez standing in the on-deck circle, Berti broke towards third too early, and Nola stepped off and threw to third to nab Berti. It was an unforgivable mistake in the most critical game of the last two decades. Any momentum that the Marlins had in their grasp swung all the way in the other direction. It would never swing back.
Cristian Pache walked to lead off the third and came around to score the first run of the game on a double by Kyle Schwarber. Trea Turner lined one off of Brax’s hip and into RF for an RBI single to make it 2-0. Brax worked out of the inning, but that would be the end of the line. David Robertson came on to pitch the fourth inning and close the book on Braxton.
His final line: 3.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 56/34 P/S
Robertson gave up a leadoff home run to J.T. Realmuto, then retired six in a row before allowing a double to Alec Bohm in the bottom of the sixth. Andrew Nardi replaced him and walked the first batter he faced. Castellanos reached on an error to load the bases, and then Bryson Stott delivered the knockout blow. A first-pitch grand slam made it 7-0 and sent the 45,738 at Citizens Bank Park into a frenzy.
The Marlins made some noise in the ninth inning and even pushed across a run, but that would not be enough. Ballgame over. Series over. Season over. The Marlins are going home, and the Phillies are off to Atlanta.
Noah’s Notes and What’s Next
- It was a fun season while it lasted.
- Thank you to everyone who followed along.
- Lots to do in the offseason.
- The Phillies move on to the NLDS to face the Braves in Atlanta beginning on Saturday.
- ‘Til Opening Day 2024!
Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images