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Braves sweep Phillies to clinch NL East title

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Atlanta is headed to the postseason for a fourth straight year.

Philadelphia Phillies v. Atlanta Braves Photo by Todd Kirkland/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The Atlanta Braves are headed back to the postseason after clinching a fourth straight NL East division title with a 5-3 win over the Philadelphia Phillies.

As has been the case throughout the series, the Braves didn’t waste any time getting not he scoreboard. Jorge Soler has been a monster in the series and jumped on a 3-2 pitch from Kyle Gibson and drove it a long way out to left center to give Atlanta an early 1-0 lead.

Ian Anderson retired the side in order in the first but ran into some trouble in the second. Brad Miller worked a one out walk and then moved up to third on a double to left by Andrew McCutchen. Undeterred, Anderson got Didi Gregorius to pop out to Freeman in foul territory for the second out. The Braves intentionally walked Ronald Torreyes to load the bases but Gibson grounded to Austin Riley at third for the final out to strand the runners.

Atlanta added to the lead in the fourth when Riley led off the inning with his 33rd home run of the season to make it 2-0.

Gibson struck out Adam Duvall and Eddie Rosario but then issued a free pass to Travis d’Arnaud. That would come back to haunt him as Dansby Swanson doubled off the wall in right center. d’Arnaud scored all the way from first on the play to make it 3-0.

The Braves continued to pour it on in the fifth. Freeman reached on an error by Jean Segura with one out to get things started. Ozzie Albies then hooked one into the right field corner for a triple to make it 4-0.

That would be the end of the line for Gibson who was replaced by Connor Brogdon. Brogdon ran a fastball in to Riley that shattered his bat, but he got just enough of it to dump a single to left over the drawn in infield. Albies scored on the play to extend the advantage to 5-0.

Gibson allowed four hits and five runs (four earned) in 4 1/3 innings. He struck out eight and walked two.

Philadelphia showed some signs of life in the seventh. Anderson retired seven straight before Miller led off the seventh with a single. McCutchen followed with a two-run home run to left to cut the deficit to 5-2. He would give way to A.J. Minter who retired the first two hitters before allowing a pinch-hit single to Alec Bohm. Minter then got Odubel Herrera to ground out to Swanson to end the frame.

The Braves got a bit of a scare in the home half of the inning when Jose Alvarado hit Freeman in the elbow with a 100 mph fastball.

Freeman stayed in the game and was erased on a double play grounder by Riley. He came back out to play first base in the eighth so perhaps Atlanta dodged a bullet.

Luke Jackson took over in the eighth and struck out Segura before getting Bryce Harper to ground out. J.T. Realmuto followed with a solo home run to left to make it 5-3 but Miller lined out to Duvall in center for the third out.

Will Smith took over in the ninth and quickly struck out McCutchen on three pitches. Gregorius then popped out to Swanson for the second out. Smith then struck out Torreyes to end the game.