Phillies clinch 1st postseason berth since 2011, set NL playoff field
The Philadelphia Phillies are back in the postseason for the first time since 2011 after clinching the final National League wild-card spot Monday by beating the Houston Astros 3-0 at Minute Maid Park.
Aaron Nola carried a perfect game into the seventh inning before surrendering a two-out single to Yordan Alvarez. The former All-Star finished with nine strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings while allowing two hits.
On the offensive side, Kyle Schwarber played the hero, hitting two homers and walking twice. Bryson Stott was the only other player with an RBI, hitting a solo homer in the eighth.
Manager Rob Thomson, who replaced Joe Girardi in early June when the Phillies were toiling at 22-29, delivered a post-game speech before popping champagne:
The Phillies' win eliminated Milwaukee from playoff contention even though the Brewers mounted an epic comeback and defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks in extra innings to briefly keep their hopes alive.
On the out-of-town scoreboard, the Phillies seemed likely to clinch their spot on a Brewers loss. However, after entering the ninth inning trailing 4-1, Milwaukee scored three runs to send the game to extras. After falling behind in the 10th inning yet again, the Brewers walked it off in the bottom of the frame.
Minutes later, the Phillies finished off the Astros and celebrated on the mound after Zach Eflin converted the save.
While the Phillies are officially the sixth and final team in the Senior Circuit to secure a playoff spot, they will not necessarily finish as the bottom seed. At 87-73, they are merely one back of the San Diego Padres and possess the tiebreaker.
If the Phillies finish as the 6-seed, they will play a three-game wild-card series against the NL Central-winning St. Louis Cardinals hosted throughout at Busch Stadium. If they manage to overtake the Padres, the Phillies will have a three-game set against the NL East runner-up: either the New York Mets at Citi Field or the Atlanta Braves at Truist Park.
The last time the Phillies made the postseason was 2011, when they won 102 games and the NL East title. That was the final season of a five-year run of playoff berths for Philadelphia that included one World Series championship and another appearance in the Fall Classic.
It's the first time Philadelphia will make the playoffs via a wild-card spot. The Phillies won the division 11 times and the NL pennant an additional two times before the divisional era.