Aaron Nola carried a perfect game into the seventh inning and Kyle Schwarber produced his eighth multi-home run game this season as the visiting Philadelphia Phillies clinched their first postseason berth since 2011 with a 3-0 interleague victory over the Houston Astros on Monday.
The Phillies (87-73) secured the third and final National League wild-card spot with their win, coincidentally in the same ballpark where they last clinched a postseason bid. On Sept. 14, 2011, Roy Halladay tossed a 1-0 shutout against the Astros to lift the Phillies to the NL East title.
Philadelphia ended the NL’s longest playoff drought. The Mariners’ 20-season playoff drought had been the longest in the four major North American sports leagues, but Seattle clinched a postseason berth last week.
Nola (11-13) appeared poised to match the Halladay masterpiece.
He needed only 29 pitches to complete one trip through the Houston lineup and had just 55 pitches on his ledger after five innings.
After retiring the first two batters of the seventh, Nola lost his perfect game when Yordan Alvarez dumped a first-pitch fastball into right field. David Hensley followed with a single that chased Nola, who struck out nine over 6 2/3 innings.
Left-handed reliever Jose Alvarado entered and fanned Kyle Tucker to preserve the Phillies’ 1-0 lead, an advantage that grew to three runs in the eighth.
Bryson Scott led off the frame with his 10th home run and Schwarber followed with his 46th one batter later, with both blasts going to right field and coming off Astros right-hander Jose Urquidy. Schwarber now has a career-high 94 RBIs.
Phillies right-hander Zach Eflin threw a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his first career save.
Astros right-hander Lance McCullers Jr. (4-2) surrendered his lone run on the first pitch of the game. Schwarber ambushed a McCullers sinker and drilled it 394 feet to left-center, spotting the Phillies a 1-0 advantage.
McCullers later stranded Jean Segura and Stott in scoring position in the fifth inning by retiring Schwarber on a first-pitch flyout. He then struck out the side, all swinging, in the sixth to cap his outing having surrendered one run on six hits and one walk with five strikeouts on 94 pitches.
American League Central champion Houston (104-56) lost for the third time in five games.
–Field Level Media