Phillies beat Marlins 4-1 in MLB Wild Card matchup

Zack Wheeler struck out eight and pitched into the seventh inning to lead the Philadelphia Phillies to a 4-1 win over the Miami Marlins in the opener of their NL Wild Card Series. The Phillies moved within a victory of an NL Division Series matchup against Atlanta. 

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October 4, 2023 - 2:55 PM

Nick Castellanos is the only Phillie heading to the All-Star Game in Seattle. (Yong Kim/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Flip that finger, Nick.

The ring one, of course. Nick Castellanos had no desire to turn his moment on second base into a NSFW moment in the postseason.

The All-Star slugger did — with millions briefly confusing the gesture for the obscene finger — direct his ring finger toward a joyous Phillies dugout, sending a message that the defending NL champions are chasing the World Series ring they were denied by Houston last year.

“That’s why we’re playing this month,” Castellanos said.

Zack Wheeler struck out eight in a sensational effort, José Alvarado preserved the lead with a pivotal strikeout and Philadelphia opened a resolute postseason push with a 4-1 win over the Miami Marlins in the opener of their NL Wild Card Series on Tuesday night.

“As soon as I stepped foot out of the dugout to go stretch out there in the bullpen, the crowd went nuts and I got chills,” Wheeler said.

Wheeler quickly started dealing and got the run support needed to put the Marlins on the ropes.

Led by Kyle Schwarber’s 47 homers, the Phillies had six players in the Game 1 lineup with at least 20. But they didn’t need the Schwarbombs and Alec Booms to get the job done, as every starter had at least one hit, without a home run.

Castellanos added an RBI double in the eighth inning to score Bryce Harper — who knocked off his helmet as he steamrolled past a stop sign — and the Phillies moved within a victory of an NL Division Series matchup against Atlanta.

“Bryce does that all the time and he’s miraculously safe more often than not,” Castellanos said with a laugh.

Wheeler allowed one run in 6 2/3 innings. Craig Kimbrel worked a scoreless ninth for the save.

Phillies fans held signs that read “Un-phinished Business” and they were downright delirious when injured slugger Rhys Hoskins fought back tears and threw the ceremonial first pitch.

Castellanos did, too. He wore Hoskins’ No. 17 on the side of his cap this season in tribute to the first baseman who spiked his bat on a home run last season in an NLDS victory.

“He symbolizes Philadelphia, honestly more than any of the signees that have come here after the fact,” Castellanos said.

The Phillies won 11 postseason games last season, two shy of the ultimate goal and their first World Series title since 2008. The theme of unfinished business — as it is for so many World Series losers — was a key element that permeated throughout the clubhouse this season.

“We’ve got to get back after it this year, and it’s a different team,” manager Rob Thomson said. “I believe it’s a better team, to be honest with you.”

Here they are again, this time with star shortstop Trea Turner, playing big games in October — and with Wheeler in top form.

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