Series Recap: Phillies Celebrate Clinch of 2023 Postseason Berth During Pirates Stint

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Philadelphia Phillies’ Bryce Harper celebrates after winning a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates to clinch a wild-card playoff spot, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The highlight for the Philadelphia Phillies during their series with the Pittsburgh Pirates is clinching their spot in the postseason and the number one National League Wild Card.

Winning two of three games isn’t a terrible outcome either.

This was the final game series at home for the Phils before they head to finish their season on the road against the New York Mets at Citi Field. And what a way to end their final home stand of the regular season while, yes it ended in a loss but with homers and ejections, it was a way to close out at Citizens Bank Park.

Game 1: Phillies 3- Pirates 2 in 10 innings

Tuesday night was the series’s biggest night: postseason-clinching night.

Long-lost Duck Dynasty member Brandon Marsh homered for the Fightins, making it his 11th home run of the season. Bryce Harper added a sacrifice fly for a 2-0 lead in the sixth.

Pittsburgh’s Bryan Reynolds hit a solo shot in the seventh off starter Aaron Nola and Henry Davis hit one off All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel, which tied the game at two runs in the eighth.

It was a great night on the mound for Nola. He struck out eight Pirates over 6.2 innings and reached 200 for the third straight season. Something for the Phillies to watch as Nola enters free agency at the end of the season.

Pirates starter Mitch Keller tried to play spoiler by taking a no-hitter into the sixth. But on the first pitch of the inning, Keller threw one high and outside and shook his right arm but still struck out six.

But it was rookie Johan Rojas at the plate with one out in the bottom of the 10th inning. The newbie, who joined the Phillies in July, delivered the knockout blow. He singled up the middle to score Cristian Pache for the playoff-clinching moment.

The Phillies came away with the 3-2 win.

Game 2: Phillies 7- Pirates 6

Harper and Garrett Stubbs had quite the night on Wednesday evening. Stubbs entered the game batting just .196 in 30 games. The Phillies also didn’t have some familiar names in the lineup. Designated hitter Kyle Schwarber, third baseman Alec Bohm, catcher J.T. Realmuto, and right fielder Nick Castellanos all took the night off.

Stubbs hammered a homer in the fourth inning— a three-run shot — that sparked a rally for the Phillies. It was his first dinger since August 16, 2022.

Can’t count out Edmundo Sosa for the Phillies. He hit his 10th home run of the year for the Phils a sweet solo shot. Later on, Pache tied the game 6-all on an RBI single in the sixth that scored Harper.

Harper was one of the few regulars in the lineup and played first base. The 30-year-old had three hits and slugged his 21st homer of the season with the go-ahead solo dinger in the seventh inning.

The Phillies took the second game of the three-game series 7-6.

Game 3: Phillies 2- Pirates 3

You can’t win them all and since they secured their postseason berth, a loss in the series isn’t too much to stress about for Philly.

But boy was it a spicy match.

Power hitter Schwarber launched his 46th homer in the first inning all the way into the second deck. It matched last year’s NL-leading total.

Yet the spiciest moment of the game came in the fourth inning. Harper held his swing on a full count against Luis L. Ortiz. The umpire called out Harper as he began to remove his shin guard.

The umpire in question? Good ol’ Ángel Hernández.

Harper pointed his finger in Hernández’s face and had to be separated by manager Rob Thomson. He then stormed back to the dugout and was ejected from the game.

Hayden Dorfman, 10, of Voorhees, N.J., holds up Philadelphia Phillies slugger Bryce Harper’s autographed helmet during a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Thursday, Sept. 28, 2023, in Philadelphia. Harper tossed his helmet into the stands after he was ejected and it was retrieved by Dorfman. (AP Photo/Daniel Gelston)

Shortstop Trea Turner went from second to home on a stolen base in the eighth inning and scored thanks to a throwing error by catcher Jason Delay to make it a 3-2 game.

Pittsburgh’s Jared Triolo had two RBIs- one in the third and one in the fifth. Jack Suwinski added a run-scoring single for the Pirates in the same inning. 

Pitcher Matt Strahm earned the loss, throwing for one inning and with three hits and two runs.

Philadelphia heads I-95 to Citi Field for the final games against NL East rival New York.