PHILADELPHIA- For the first time in 4,025 days, postseason baseball was played in Philadelphia. In front of a sellout crowd of over 43,000 crazed Philly faithful, the Phillies put on a show in Game 3.
Aaron Nola shines under playoff lights
Aaron Nola continued his tremendous second half of the season with another superb outing on the mound. The former first-rounder tossed six scoreless innings and struck out six Atlanta batters.
In his first-ever playoff start at Citizens Bank Park, with the stakes the highest, Nola delivered once again. From his first pitch to his last, Nola was simply untouchable as he made quick work of a stout Atlanta offense.
“It was electric,” Aaron Nola said of his home playoff debut. “These fans are wild.”
Through three October starts (19 2/3 innings pitched) this year, Nola has yet to allow a run. Additionally, he has struck out 22 batters in that span.
Much has been made about whether or not Nola classifies as an ace, but after tonight’s performance, even his biggest scoffers have to be impressed.
The bats wake up
On the other side of the ball, the Phillies were equally as dominant on offense.
After a couple of quiet innings against rookie sensation Spencer Strider, the Phillies erupted in the third inning. Strider, who become the fastest pitcher to reach 200 strikeouts in MLB history, doing so in just 130 career innings, looked like he was in store for a lengthy start to begin Game 3.
In the first two innings, Strider baffled the Phillies batters with his blistering velocity and impressive command. That all changed with one swing of the bat by Rhys Hoskins in the third inning, though.
Following a strikeout in his first at-bat, Hoskins hit an absolute no-doubter in his second appearance, giving the Phils an early 4-0 lead.
Moments later, Bryce Harper took the lid off the stadium once again with a monstrous home run to deep right field.
The Phillies batted around in the third inning, leaving Nola on the bench for thirty minutes as they piled on runs.
The Phillies wound up winning in a rout 9-1, moving them to within one win of advancing to the NLCS.
After the game, Phillies manager Rob Thomson credited the charged-up Phillies crowd for fueling the team’s big performance.
Next up, the Phillies head back on the road, where they look to eliminate the reigning champion Braves in Philadelphia.
Game 4 will take place tomorrow at 1 PM at Truist Park.
AP Photo/Matt Slocum