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Austin Riley’s clutch homer, crazy game-ending double play lifts Braves over Phillies, ties NLDS


The Philadelphia Phillies were four outs away from taking a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-five NLDS and heading back home – but Austin Riley had other plans.

The Atlanta Braves third baseman, on a full count, just needed a base hit to bring in the tying run that was standing on third base.

But small ball is boring and home runs win games. So, he took Jeff Hoffman deep to give Atlanta a 5-4 lead. That was the score the Braves won by, but it did not come without several bullets of sweat.

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Austin Riley

Austin Riley of the Atlanta Braves rounds the bases after hitting a two-run home run in the eighth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies during Game 2 of the NL Division Series at Truist Park on October 9, 2023, in Atlanta. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Bryce Harper led off the top of the ninth with a walk against A.J. Minter, forcing Brian Snitker to bring in Raisel Iglesias for the save. Iglesias got J.T. Realmuto to fly out, but Nick Castellanos gave one a ride deep into center field. However, Michael Harris II made an incredible leaping catch against the wall. 

Harper, though, sensed that the ball would drop, so he never tagged up. By the time Harris II caught the ball, Harper was in between second and third, and Atlanta was able to double him off, although just barely, to end the game.

APP USERS VIEW THE PLAY HERE.

Atlanta dropped Game 1 in their home ballpark, so it’s fair to say that panic probably began to settle in for the 104-win club and its fans before Riley’s homer. 

But now, with an insane ending, momentum is on their side.

Austin Riley points

Austin Riley of the Atlanta Braves rounds the bases after hitting a two-run home run in the eighth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies during Game 2 of the NL Division Series at Truist Park on October 9, 2023, in Atlanta. (Elsa/Getty Images)

BRAVES FANS THROW BOTTLES ON FIELD AFTER CONTROVERSIAL CALL

The Braves have used the long ball all season to win – their 307 homers and .501 slugging percentage both were the most in MLB history in a single season, and their 104-58 record was the best in the big leagues this season.

The series heads to Citizens Bank Park, which was one of the wildest atmospheres last fall as the Phillies won their first pennant since 2009. That stayed true during their wild-card round sweep of the Miami Marlins.

Austin Riley watches homer

Austin Riley of the Atlanta Braves hits a two-run home run in the eighth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies during Game 2 of the NL Division Series at Truist Park on October 9, 2023, in Atlanta. (Elsa/Getty Images)

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Aaron Nola is the Phillies’ scheduled starter for the contest; the Braves have yet to announce who will take the bump, but it’s likely to be Bryce Elder or AJ Smith-Shawver.





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