PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — The National League champion Philadelphia Phillies secured a wild-card berth by beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-2 in 10 innings on Tuesday night with Johan Rojas’ RBI single prompting wild celebrations in the outfield .
The Fightins also secured the top spot in the wild card round, meaning all first round games will be played at Citizens Bank Park.
Rojas’ single goal against Pirates substitute David Bednar (3-3) scored a goal for Cristian Pache and sent the over 30,000 fans into a frenzy. “Phillies CLINCHED Wild Card” flashed on the scoreboard and the Phillies overran each other in celebration.
Jeff Hoffman (5-2) secured the win with a scoreless 10th throw.
The Phillies were in for another wild clubhouse party after picking up series victories at home in the NL Division Series and the NLCS last season. They lost the World Series to Houston in six games last year and carried the burden of unfinished business this year.
Step 1, completed.
Pittsburgh’s Bryan Reynolds scored on a solo shot in the seventh and Henry Davis scored on a single off All-Star Craig Kimbrel in the eighth to tie the game 2-0.
Brandon Marsh hit a home run for the Phillies.
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Phillies starter Aaron Nola, Philadelphia’s longest-serving player, secured victory in the wild-card duel against Houston last season. Nola struck out Ji Hwan Bae in the sixth game, reaching the 200 strikeout mark for the third consecutive season. Nola, who will leave in free agency at the end of the season, shook his cap as he left the mound to a standing ovation after striking out eight in 6 2/3 innings.
The Phillies celebrated their first postseason berth at Citizens Bank Park since September 18, 2011, when they won their fifth straight NL East title.
A decade of lean years followed, but the celebrated arrival of Bryce Harper in 2019 helped usher in excitement, excitement for the future and, ultimately, the postseason. The Phillies signed free agent shortstop Trea Turner this season and his second-half surge propelled the Phillies into the wild card.
No doubt the ballpark will rock again like it did last October. Phillies manager Rob Thomson said an opposing coach told him during the playoffs that a game in Philly was “four hours of hell.” The Phillies won their first six home playoff games last season, setting the tone for what they dubbed “Red October.”
Pirates starter Mitch Keller (13-10) tried to play spoilsport by throwing a no-hitter into the sixth. But on the first pitch of the inning, Keller threw one high and out, shaking his right arm. The training staff came out and Keller threw a few warmup throws. On the second pitch, Marsh hit his eleventh home run of the season. He still tallied six strikeouts and has 210 strikeouts this season, a franchise record (since 1887) for most right-handed pitchers.
In the sixth, Harper converted a sacrifice fly for a 2-0 lead.
Thomson received a lot of laughter after last season’s wildcard clinch. Thomson went to take a sip from his champagne bottle and – shit! To the delight of fans who saw the video on social media, the cork was still in.
“I didn’t know anyone knew until I got back to my office and my daughter texted me,” he said before Tuesday’s game.
Thomson joked that he had learned his lesson and was ready to uncork the cork before taking a sip.
Phillies 1B Rhys Hoskins still had a strong chance of making the postseason roster as he recovers from a torn ACL in his left knee. Thomson said Tuesday that the slugger was unlikely to be released and activated before the World Series, if at all.
The Pirates recalled infielder Nick Gonzales from Triple-A Indianapolis. The 24-year-old Gonzales finished the 2023 season leading all Pirates minor league players in extra-base hits (49), while ranking fourth in batting (.281) and total bases (191). Slugging (.507) and OPS ranked third (.886). This is Gonzales’ second appearance with the Pirates this season (June 23-August 3).
The Pirates send RHP Johan Ovedo (9-14, 4.12 ERA) to the mound against Phillies LHP Ranger Suarez (4-6, 3.89 ERA).
Playoff schedule | Wildcard series
Game 1: Tuesday, October 3rd
Game 2: Wednesday, October 4th
Game 3: Thursday October 5th (if required)
(The games will be played at Citizens Bank Park if the Phillies earn the first wild card spot.)
ESPN contributed to this report.