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.
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.