After punching their ticket for the postseason earlier in the week, the Philadelphia Phillies clinched the National League East last night, defeating the St. Louis Cardinals 9-2.
On the way to its 5th consecutive NL East crown, Philadelphia received equally impressive contributions from its offense and pitchers. Roy Oswalt delivered 7 shutout innings and the Phillies bats came alive late to ensure the victory.
In the 4th inning with the bases loaded, Victorino watched 4 straight balls to force in a run. The Flyin’ Hawaiian was a little more proactive during his next at bat. Victorino took Kyle McClellan deep to center for his 17th home run of the year, giving the Phillies a 3-0 lead.
St. Louis made things interesting in the 8th inning, scoring twice off of Phillies reliever Michael Stutes. This apparently woke up Philadelphia’s bats, as the offense broke through for its first big inning of the series.
Victorino and Pence came back for more, adding to their RBI total with a pair of singles. Raul Ibanez then decided to break things wide open with one swing, hitting a grand slam and putting the game well out of the Cardinals reach.
With the Cardinals cutting the Phils lead to one before their 6 run 8th, Ryan Madson was up and ready to close things out in the 9th. Madson still entered the game, but now had a hefty 7 run cushion to work with. He shut the door and the Phillies began the celebration in front of their home crowd.
Now that they’ve clinched and popped their bubbly, the Phillies can focus on postseason play. While a 5th straight title is no doubt impressive, it will matter little if Philadelphia isn’t able to seal the deal this October.
For more on the Phillies, be sure to check out That Balls Outta Here.