MLB Wild Card: Phillies beat Braves behind Nick Castellanos and David Robertson

ATLANTA — Nick Castellanos raised his right arm in triumph and let out a little as he rounded first base. Down there, his teammates went a little crazy.

It’s been a rough first season in Philadelphia due to a big free-agent addition, but all the tension and stress seemed to melt away with one swing under the hot Georgia sun on Wednesday afternoon.

Castellana’s first homer in over a month resulted in a 3-1 win over the Atlanta Braves.

Castellana’s ninth home game of the season was his first since June 30. and 113 matches.

His reaction, clearing the bases, showed how cathartic he was.

The reaction in the dugout showed how much his teammates support him.

“He’s been electric (in the box) because everybody’s pulling for him,” manager Rob Thomson said. “They know what he’s been through and they know he cares, so they care about him. It’s been really great.”

Wheeler was great. He went seven innings and allowed just one run on an error to Orlando Arcia with two strikeouts in the fifth. The right-hander walked none and struck out seven, but didn’t look in run support until the Phillies went three in the top of the eighth.

Wheeler was on the dugout steps when Castellanos brought in Collin McHugh.

“Nick is a really good hitter,” Wheeler said. “He’s just struggled a little bit, but I think people are exaggerating it more than it is. He’s been a pretty solid hitter for us if you really look at it. It’s been nice to see him come forward.”

Castellano’s biggest hit as a Phillie doesn’t come without JT Realmuto hitting a potential double play ball that would have ended the inning. Rhys Hoskins had one out for Charlie Morton and Alec Bohm had one out for McHugh and Realmuto had a save. At first he was summoned. The Phillies won the challenge.

“What a play,” Thomson said. “Rhys does it. Bohmer hits. JT hits him to keep the inning going and gives Casty a chance to hit a big home run. That was a big hit for him.”

With the lead, Thomson pulled all the right strings to reach the finish line. Seranthony Dominguez got two outs in the eighth. Jose Alvarado retired the dangerous Matt Olson to end the inning. Then the newly acquired David Robertson, still wearing his blue Chicago Cubs cleats, came in and nailed the save.

Robertson played for the Phillies in 2019 and 2020, but came to town on a two-year, $23 million free agent contract and sprained his right elbow, but played in just seven games. At age 37, after surgery and a tough rehab, he came back and finally made his first save as a Phillie.

Asked how it felt, Robertson said: “It was definitely better than blowing, if you want the truth. I had a lot of tough outings last time I was here and I was glad the team got one. They played hard, battled and got a really nice win today. victory.”

The Phillies finished the road trip 5-1. They return home Thursday night with new faces (Noah Syndergaard) and a 56-48 record. They hold the third and final wild card spot in the NL.

No one in Philly is going home feeling better than Castellanos, who had 11 hits and five RBIs on the trip.

“I think it’s just me slowly trying to do less and less and enjoy the hit to right field,” he said of his hot streak. “I think that’s a good starting point. Just slowly let go of expectations and let the game come to you again.”

And as for that emotional trip around the bases and the congratulations he got from his teammates in the dugout…

“I was really happy,” Castellanos said. “For me personally, of course, it felt great, but more importantly, the Phillies needed it. We’ve got some really quality people on this team, and at the end of the day, that’s all you can ask for.”

Well, that and a productive trade deadline and a shot at making the playoffs.

“It sends a message that this is where the expectation is to win,” Castellanos said of the deadline extension. “More time when people are leaving the clubhouse than adding to it.” I feel good when regular guys come.

“With the additions (Jean Segura and Bryce Harper) coming back, it’s been the best offseason we could have asked for. We’re not hitting on all cylinders yet and we’re in the playoffs. It should be exciting.”

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