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Braves take on Phillies on verge of sixth straight division title

Sep 11, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Atlanta Braves first baseman Matt Olson (28) at the on deck circle during the fifth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Braves can clinch their sixth consecutive National League East title with a victory in the series finale over the host Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday.

The Braves (95-50) led 6-1 and then held on for a 7-6 victory in 10 innings on Tuesday.

Marcell Ozuna homered, singled and drove in three runs, and Matt Olson added two hits, including his major league-leading 51st home run that tied Andruw Jones’ franchise record set in 2005.

Olson, who had never hit more than 39 home runs in any season before this one, has 128 RBIs. Olson has eight homers in September.

“It’s incredible. He should be a model to everybody that’s watching the game right now,” Spencer Strider, who will start on Wednesday, told Bally Sports South of Olson’s work ethic.

Ronald Acuna Jr. hit a two-run homer and Eddie Rosario produced the go-ahead RBI single in the 10th inning. Rosario had three hits and an RBI.

“It’s fun. I like these moments,” Rosario told Bally Sports South in a postgame interview. “A lot of pressure. I feel great at home plate.”

One player who feels great on the mound is Strider (16-5, 3.83 ERA).

The right-hander struggled in his last start last Wednesday, when he allowed six hits and six runs in 2 2/3 innings against the St. Louis Cardinals.

“It was an inability to make adjustments,” Strider said. “I have to give us a chance to win.”

Strider is 6-0 with a 1.62 ERA in six career games (five starts) against the Phillies.

The Phillies (79-66) will look to deny the Braves from clinching.

Trea Turner had three hits, including the game-tying home run in the bottom of the ninth Tuesday. Turner now has 11 homers in his last 13 games and has reached base safely in 23 straight.

Bryson Stott hit a two-run home run and Nick Castellanos added a home run and single.

Bryce Harper homered and singled. The home run was Harper’s 1,500th career hit.

“We can’t let it happen, especially this late in the season,” Harper said of the loss. “We’ve got to win these games.”

Despite the power, the Phillies went 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position and left 10 on base.

“We had the opportunity to come through and just didn’t get it done,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said.

The Phillies still hold the top spot in the National League wild-card race, but they have suffered some maddening losses after rallying in the late innings.

This was another example on Tuesday.

Thomson said that he’s not fazed by coming up short, especially with the playoffs potentially looming.

“As long as they’re fighting, I’m good with it,” Thomson said.

Cristopher Sanchez (2-3, 3.26) is scheduled to start for the Phillies.

In Sanchez’s last start against the Miami Marlins, he gave up four hits and no runs in five innings.

Sanchez has one career appearance against the Braves with two scoreless innings.

Kyle Schwarber struck out four times Tuesday and saw his average fall to .199.

–Field Level Media