‘We’re not done’: Confident Philadelphia Phillies win, secures first postseason berth in 11 years – ESPN

'We're not done': Confident Philadelphia Phillies win, secures first postseason berth in 11 years - ESPN

HOUSTON — When the Philadelphia Phillies fired manager Joe Girardi after a 22-29 start to the season, it was hard to imagine that Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber and caretaker manager Rob Thomson would dance in a champagne shower come October.

But this team persevered through the rough start and an injury that sidelined Harper for two months to do just that, beating the Houston Astros 3-0 on Monday night to reach their first playoff appearance in 11 years.

“That’s the goal,” Harper said. “This is what you play for.”

Aaron Nola took a perfect game into the seventh inning and Schwarber homered to propel the Phillies to victory on Monday.

“It wasn’t an easy season,” Schwarber said. “We went through a managerial change, we went through the MVP slump … and we went through people saying our season is over, that doesn’t even count the Phillies and they can’t catch the baseball. .. and for us to get all our guys back and healthy and for them all to be there and contribute that’s what it’s about.”

after Brandon Marsh caught Mauricio Dubon‘s fly ball in center for the final out of the game, players jumped and cheered before meeting at the mound where they hugged and bounced some more.

The video board at Minute Maid Park displayed the team logo and the words: “Congratulations Philadelphia” as the Phillies celebrated.

A small but vocal group of Philadelphia fans gathered near the team’s dugout and chanted, “Let’s go Phillies,” in the bottom of the ninth inning.

In the victory clubhouse, Thomson gave his team a pep talk before champagne flew.

“We’re not done,” he told his team. “After Wednesday, we have 13 more wins, and we are world champions… Congratulations, enjoy this, you’ve earned it.”

Players and coaches danced and sang as champagne from bottles affixed with special labels celebrating them punching their long-awaited and hard-fought ticket to the postseason rained down and soaked their red playoff shirts.

“When I signed here in ’19, I said it was going to take us a couple of years, three or four or five years to get to where we needed to be,” said Harper, a two-time MVP. “And we’re not where we need to be right now, but this is step one to hopefully greater success and a greater opportunity to get to where we need to be.”

Harper credited Thomson as the key to the team turning things around. Thomson said he appreciated the compliment but would not take credit for the success.

“At the beginning of the year we just didn’t play well and we didn’t play to our ability,” he said. “But I always felt we were going to get there and we did. So. I just happened to come in at the right time.”

The Phillies clinched at the same stadium where they secured their last postseason trip on September 14, 2011. That game was a 1-0 victory over the Astros highlighted by a complete game shutout by Hall of Famer Roy Halladay.

Philadelphia’s postseason drought was the longest active in the majors after the Seattle Mariners clinched their first playoff berth in 21 years on Friday night.

Now that the Phillies have clinched, all 12 playoff spots are set with the exact matchups to be determined in the next couple of days.

The Phillies entered the opener of the final regular season series of the year needing a win or loss from the Milwaukee Brewers to receive a National League wild card spot. The Brewers rallied to beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 6-5 in 10 innings a few minutes before Philadelphia wrapped up the win.

Nola struck out nine and did not allow a base runner until Yordan Alvarez singled with two outs in the seventh. David Hensley followed with a single and Nola was replaced by Jose Alvaradowho crossed out Kyle Tucker to end the inning.

Zach Eflin pitched a scoreless ninth to complete the shutout and get his first save in 11 years of pro ball.

Schwarber got things going for the Phillies in their first visit to Houston since September 16, 2012, with a homer away. Lance McCullers.

Philadelphia added some insurance when Bryson Stott and Schwarber hit back-to-back solo shots away Jose Urquidy to start the eighth inning.

It’s the eighth multi-homer game this season for Schwarber, who leads the NL with a career-high 46 home runs, giving him 199 home runs in his career.

The Phillies have three players who will appear in the postseason for the first time after playing more than 600 career games. Jean Segura leads the group with 1,327, JT Realmuto has 1,004 and Rhys Hoskins is at 666.

Segura, who is in his 11th major league season, began to wonder if that day would ever come.

“I felt a little bit of pressure on myself like I’m probably never going to make the postseason,” he said.

Now that he did it, he couldn’t be happier.

“It’s been a long ride,” he said. “I’ve waited so many years for this opportunity and I guarantee I won’t let it pass me by.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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