Taking you all the way to the top of the eighth (I want to make this quick for the both of us), Aaron Nola gave them a gem through 6.2 innings.
His curveball danced on its own for seven whiffs on 18 swings. He fanned eight batters for an encouraging start heading into the postseason.
With a 2-1 lead heading into the eighth, Rob Thomson had Craig Kimbrel face the bottom of the Pittsburgh Pirates order.
After recording a strikeout on catcher Endy Rodríguez, Henry Davis took a hanging curveball to the left field seats to tie the game.
He recorded the next two outs but showed a concerning drop in velocity, going down to 94 without as much life.
With a one-two-three bottom of the eighth inning, it was up to José Alvarado to keep the game tied.
He faced some of the best hitters the Pirates had to offer and they had nothing to match his overwhelming stuff.
Bryan Reynolds couldn’t handle Alvarado’s cutter and went down on seven pitches, Ke’Bryan Hayes struck out on a down and in cutter, and Jack Suwinski popped out to shortstop.
The Phillies got two runners on with two outs in the bottom of the ninth but Nick Castellanos went down on three pitches (the fastball was a strike).
Jeff Hoffman was tasked to pitch the top of the tenth inning. He walked Jared Triolo to put runners on first and second with no one out. Connor Joe flew out to short center field on a two-strike slider.
Rodríguez flew out to center field to move the ghost runner over to third base. With two outs and Henry Davis back up, Hoffman got him swinging on a two-strike slider to keep the game tied.
Pirates closer David Bednar came in for the tenth to face the bottom of the Phillies order. He struck out Brandon Marsh on an up-and-in fastball but that only set the stage for Johan Rojas.
Rojas received the Paul Owens Award for Phillies’ best minor league hitting prospect earlier in the day. He posed with Orion Kerkering before the same.
He got a Bednar fastball with two strikes and sent the Phillies to the postseason.
WALK IT OFF INTO RED OCTOBER. pic.twitter.com/usqUiUVlNu— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) September 27, 2023
The Philadelphia Phillies are officially going to the postseason no matter what happens. Rojas clinched his team a postseason berth. He wasn’t even supposed to be in the big leagues this year.
Ranger Suárez will be tasked for the hangover start, in a game that now officially doesn’t matter.