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Phillies blank Braves to wrest home-field advantage in NLDS

Seven Philadelphia Phillies pitchers came into Atlanta and silenced the Braves on Saturday night.

Now the Phillies and Braves are in familiar positions in the National League Division Series.

A septuple of pitchers combined on a five-hit shutout for the visiting Phillies, who beat the Braves 3-0 in Game 1 of the NLDS.

“Good starting pitching, great bullpen, good defense, timely hitting as well,” Phillies first baseman Bryce Harper told NBC Philadelphia after he went 2-for-2 with a homer and two walks. “That’s a really, really good team over there, so to be able to come in here and steal one from them — hopefully go right back at them on Monday and get another one.”

Game 2 of the best-of-five set is scheduled for Monday night in Atlanta. Zack Wheeler (1-0, 1.35 ERA postseason; 13-6, 3.61 regular season) is slated to start for the Phillies against Max Fried (0-0, 0.00 postseason; 8-1, 2.55 regular season), who made just 14 starts this season because of a forearm injury and a blister.

The series is a rematch of an NLDS from last season, when the Phillies beat the Braves in four games on their way to reaching the World Series.

The Phillies won Game 1 last season, 7-6. They took a decidedly different approach than the one they used on Saturday, when Philadelphia handed the Braves their first home shutout this season.

The Braves are the third team to be shut out in their playoff opener after leading the majors in runs in the regular season and the first since the 2001 Seattle Mariners.

“We’ve got to regroup and come back and win Monday night,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “We’ve just got to look forward to the next game.”

Phillies starter Ranger Suarez allowed one hit and one walk while striking out four over 3 2/3 innings before exiting after Ozzie Albies reached on a fielder’s choice. Jeff Hoffman (1-0) walked Marcell Ozuna before striking out Michael Harris II — the only out Hoffman recorded.

“You hate to take a guy out — he’s pitching well, he knows he’s pitching well,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said. “But because of the off-days, it was Hoffman after Suarez no matter what. Just wanted to find the right spot for him.”

The Braves put runners on against each of the next four Philadelphia pitchers but finished the game 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and left seven men on base.

Atlanta mounted its biggest threat in the eighth, when Ronald Acuna Jr. drew a leadoff walk against Orion Kerkering and Austin Riley greeted Matt Strahm with a single. Acuna moved up a base on Matt Olson’s flyout to the warning track in center field before Trea Turner made a diving stop of Albies’ grounder to begin a 6-4-3 double play.

“Obviously there was a bunch of big outs — probably none bigger than Ozzie’s that Turner dove and turned the double play,” Snitker said. “He hit that ball really well. It’s one of those things that happen sometimes. The pitching shut us down.”

Craig Kimbrel notched the save with a perfect ninth.

Bryson Stott had an RBI single in the fourth and Harper homered in the sixth for the Phillies, who added an insurance run in the eighth when Turner trotted home after Sean Murphy was called for catcher’s interference with J.T. Realmuto at the plate.

Turner and Harper combined for three steals in the eighth. The Phillies finished with five steals, a franchise record for a postseason game.

Braves starter Spencer Strider (0-1) allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits and two walks while striking out eight over seven innings.

–Field Level Media

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