Austin Riley (L) of the Atlanta Braves hits a two-run homer during the first inning in the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 13, 2023. /CFP
The Atlanta Braves beat the Philadelphia Phillies 4-1 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on Wednesday, securing their 96th win of the regular season. With 16 games to go, the Braves clinched the National League (NL) East title for the sixth straight time.
Right hander Spencer Strider's 17th consecutive win and Austin Riley's two-run homer during the first inning were behind the Braves' Wednesday win on the road.
"Turn the music up! Some people want to party!" reliever Kirby Yates said. "So far, it's the best part about being a baseball player." He struck out Brandon Marsh to end the competition.
"I try not to think of moments like that," Riley said. "You just try and go up there and have a good at-bat. I've put a lot of pressure on myself this year to perform in those moments. I was able to put a good swing on there."
Spencer Strider of the Atlanta Braves pitches during the first inning in the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 13, 2023. /CFP
The Braves stopped in the NL Division Series in four of the previous five seasons, but went all the way to the World Series in 2021 and defeated the Houston Astros 4-2 to win the Commissioner's Trophy.
The Braves have won a total of 26 division titles, the most of all teams. Twenty-three of them were claimed during the divisional era that began from 1969, still more than any other team, according to ESPN.
It was not easy to be the background of the opponents' poster, but the Phillies made peace with it. "Did we want it to be on our field? No," Kyle Schwarber said. "But they're going to have to do it somewhere. The focus is on us, still. We're going to keep pushing until the very end."
Despite the loss on Wednesday, the Phillies still lead in the NL wild card race with a 79-67 record. They may face the Braves in the playoffs again in October.