ATLANTA (WNN) — Ian Anderson turned in another major pitching performance, George Soler and Austin Riley homerided, and the Atlanta Braves completed their fourth straight NL East sweep Thursday night with a 5-3 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies. won the title.
After an up-and-down season beset by injuries and legal issues, but a flurry of moves over trade deadlines, the Braves won their 21st division title since moving from Milwaukee to Atlanta in 1966.
They will face their former city in the playoffs when they open the Best of Five Division Series at the NL Central Champion Brewers on October 8.
Things got rolling in a division-cleaning triumph to Atlanta’s first hitter. Soler hits the first leadoff homer of his career, Going deep for the 26th time this season On a 3-2 pitch from Kyle Gibson (4-6).
Riley, consolidating his unlikely MVP candidacy, went on with his 33rd homer in the fourth. He scored another run with a broken bat in the fifth to take a 5-0 lead.
That was more than enough for Anderson (9-5), who appears to be scoring goals in the form he showed during the 2020 postseason as a rookie.
Anderson played six scoreless innings of a hit ball before conceding two runs to Andrew McCutchen in the seventh. AJ Minter, Luke Jackson and Will Smith worked the final three innings, with Smith earning his 37th save.
The Braves faced a lot of obstacles on their way to another division title.
Star outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. lost to a knee injury at the end of the season, while former ace Mike Soroka did not make the expected return after tearing his Achilles tendon for the second time.
In addition, slugging outfielder Marcel Ozuna — the Braves’ pot-stirring leader in Game 7 of last year’s NL Championship Series — was arrested in late May after an altercation with his wife and did not return to the team.
General manager Alex Anthopoulos made a flurry of moves on the trade deadline, assembling an entirely new outfield that included Soler and Adam Duvall.
The Braves heated up in the second half of the season to win one of the Major’s weakest divisions. They took sole possession of the first NL East lead on 15 August, while in the middle of a perfect 9–0 road trip and never relinquished the top spot.
Philadelphia bounced off late, being within 1 1/2 games of the lead last weekend.
But Atlanta dashed the Phillies’ hopes with a stellar run from opening pitching by Charlie Morton, Max Fried and Anderson. In the series, he allowed just 10 hits and three earned runs in 20 innings.
When Smith dismissed Ronald Torreys in the final, it was time for another celebration before a nearly sold-out crowd of 38,235.
In the seventh when the brave got scared Freddie Freeman was drowned Just above left elbow with 100 mph fastball from Jose Alvarado. Freeman needed a few minutes to get the feel in his arm and hand, but he was able to stay in the game.
Phillies: Head to Miami on Friday night to begin the season-ending series against the Marlins. LHP Ranger Suarez (7-5, 1.45 ERA) is set to go up against Miami RHP Sandy Alcantara (0-14, 3.09).
Brave: Host a weekend series against the New York Mets that will serve as the final tune-up for the playoffs. RHP Huascar Ynoa (4-5, 3.98) is set to make his final start of the regular season on Friday night.
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