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Nick Castellanos Slugs 2 Home Runs As Phillies Advance To NLCS

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The studs on the Phillies demonstrated that free agency still works in a year when high-payroll clubs missed the playoffs and 100-win teams fizzled out early.

The Philadelphia Phillies defeated the Atlanta Braves in their division series clash for the second straight season, led by Bryce Harper, Trea Turner, and Game 4 hero Nick Castellanos.

After hitting two home runs in Game 3 of the series, Castellanos, who agreed to a five-year, $100 million contract before the 2022 campaign, hit two more in the 3-1 victory on Thursday. He is the first player to ever have back-to-back multihomer games in the postseason.

“When we were 16, 17 years old, playing for Team USA, he did the same stuff,” a bare-chested, champagne-soaked Harper said after the win. “In the biggest tournaments, on the biggest stage, that’s Nick Castellanos. And that’s why he’s here.”

A day after Kyle Schwarber signed with the Phillies for $79 million, Castellanos did the same. Turner’s time came a year later. He signed a contract worth $300 million last winter, which is $30 million less than Harper’s 2019 deal. The funds were wisely used. Turner added one home run in Games 3 and 4, while Harper blasted two in Game 3.

The Braves were defeated in the series thanks to the free agents, but Game 4 may have been won or lost by one of the young guys. Ronald Acuna Jr. launched a ball to center field in the seventh inning with the bases loaded and two outs. Philadelphia Phillies rookie Johan Rojas tracked the ball and caught it as he leaped up against the wall.

It sparked a riot in Citizens Bank Park’s sold-out crowd, one of the game’s more hostile conditions.

In Games 3 and 4, the Phillies dominated the Braves, first battering rookie starter Bryce Elder on Wednesday then launching three home runs off of ace Spencer Strider in the decisive game. Philadelphia outhit Atlanta 11-3 in the series, including nine home runs in the two games played at home, setting a playoff record for consecutive games with multiple home runs. During the regular season, the Braves led MLB in long balls, yet they lost this series.

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