Braves earn 1st play­off slot since ’13

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Mlb - As­so­ci­ated Press

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.”

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