Braves earn 1st playoff slot since ’13
ATLANTA — Freddie Freeman stood soaked in champagne as his teammates jammed in celebration. This was just how the longtime star first baseman envisioned it when the Braves began spring training.
“You could tell after the first week of workouts that we had the talent to do something special,” said Freeman, who had a tworun single as the Braves capped a surprising season Saturday by clinching their first NL East crown since 2013 with a 5-3 victory over the Phillies.
“It means everything. This is goal No. 1. It’s celebration No. 1. We’ve got 11 wins to get in October ... but, man, is this a great feeling.”
Mike Foltynewicz took a nohitter into the seventh inning to help the Braves surge back into the playoffs a year after going 70-92.
“We knew we had something special since day one,” said Foltynewicz, who didn’t permit a hit until Odubel Herrera singled to begin the seventh.
The Braves will open the postseason Oct. 4 in the best-offive NL Division Series.
“When we started this series, we knew it was within our grasp,” manager Brian Snitker said. “I felt we just needed to stay current and worry about today’s game. These guys have done an unbelievable job of that this year.”
The Braves won their fourth straight game and beat the second-place Phillies for the third day in a row. Phillies starter Jake Arrieta lasted two innings, allowing four runs, four hits and three walks in the shortest outing of his nine-year career.
“I didn’t do my job today,” Arrieta said. “The last month I haven’t been very good. You’ve got tip your cap. They won the division. We just didn’t get the job done. They did.”