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Phillies Qualify Against Braves

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Nick Castellanos became the first player to hit multiple home runs in consecutive postseason games, leading Philadelphia's team of Dominicans Gregory Soto and Seranthony Dominguez to a 3-1 victory in Game 4 on Thursday night that knocked the Atlanta Braves out of the playoffs. playoffs for the second straight year.

Phillies Still in Playoffs

Matt Strahm struck out the surging Vaughn Grissom with runners on the corners to seal the series and send the Phillies to the outfield to celebrate.

Trea Turner hit two singles, a double and a solo home run in the fifth inning to take a 2-1 lead as the Phillies seek another World Series title, something they haven't accomplished since 2008.

Harper hit two home runs in Game 3 and challenged Arcia on each while trotting around second base.

The Phillies endured a couple of scares to once again knock off the National League East Division champion Braves, who had the best record in the majors this season at 104-58.

Philadelphia had a 90-72 record, finishing 14 games behind Atlanta for the second consecutive year.

Prior to the collision involving Harper, rookie center fielder Johan Rojas made a great defensive play with the bases loaded to end the seventh inning.

He raced to catch a long fly ball to left-center, denying Ronald Acuña Jr. an extra-base hit that could have put Atlanta in front.

Wearing light blue retro jerseys and maroon caps, as they do every Thursday at home, the Phillies took the same path they did last year to reach another National League Championship Series.

Dominguez and Soto did not play much of a role, but the Dominican player hopes to gain more prominence as the Phillies continue to advance in the series.

Atlanta Never Could Return

Atlanta will surely find little consolation in not being the only regular season heavyweight eliminated from these playoffs.

The teams with the five best regular season records: the Braves, the Orioles with 101 wins, the Dodgers with 100, the Rays with 99 and the Brewers with 92 all failed to make the LCS.

But tonight belonged to Castellanos, the All-Star right fielder whose production declined in the second half, only to rebound with his son sitting in the front row during the postseason.

One night after hitting two home runs in Game 3, Castellanos became the first Phillies hitter, or indeed, in baseball history, to hit multiple home runs in consecutive playoff games.

His second home run ended the night for Braves starter and 20-game winner Spencer Strider.

Castellanos chased Strider in the sixth with a 415-foot homer to left field that had the 45,831 fans at Citizens Bank Park waving towels in a frenzy.

Castellanos soaked in the cheers during the pitching change; he poked his head out of the dugout and raised his arms as Phillies fans turned up the volume.

Castellanos continued to wave to the crowd as he singled to right field in the seventh with the Phillies leading 3-1.

The power-throwing lefty went through three hitless innings, reaching 95.3 mph when he struck out Sean Murphy to end the second inning, before Austin Riley hit a home run in the fourth to give the Braves a 1-0 lead.

The early home run, early deficit, rarely worries these Phillies. They wait for their home run heavy lineup to deliver, and, for the second straight game, it was Castellanos who tied it 1-1 with a solo homer.

Castellanos pulled the ball inside the left field foul pole, swung the bat and pointed to his young son, Liam, as he crossed the plate.

What's Next for Philadelphia

Next week they head to a wild-card National League Championship Series and will face the Arizona Rattlers, who are making their first series appearance since 2007.

Game 1 is Monday in Philadelphia. The Phillies were thrilled to return home after a Game 2 collapse in Atlanta that ended with Harper being doubled off the bases to end a 5-4 loss.

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