The Atlanta Braves have officially clinched the NL East.
The Braves, who were already the first team in Major League Baseball to clinch a playoff berth this season, beat the Philadelphia Phillies 4-1 on Wednesday at Citizens Bank Park to secure the NL East title for the sixth straight year.
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) September 14, 2023
The Braves entered Wednesday’s game with a 95-50 record, the best in the league. They held a 16-game lead over the Phillies in the NL East, too, so the division title felt like only a matter of time. The Braves had clinched their sixth straight postseason berth with a win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday, marking their second-longest postseason streak in team history. The Braves won 11 straight NL East titles from 1995 to 2005.
The Braves have undoubtedly been the best team in baseball this season, and several players have tied or set records in the process. Ronald Acuña Jr. set the team’s single-season runs record with 132, which passed Dale Murphy's mark. Matt Olson matched Andruw Jones’ single-season franchise home-run record with 51, which is also the most in the league this year. The Braves set the NL record for home runs in a season with 282, too, including one they got Wednesday from Austin Riley.
Riley got things started on Wednesday with that two-run homer to center, which gave the Braves the advantage from the jump.
Although Bryson Stott hit an RBI single in the bottom of the inning for the Phillies, Riley drove Acuña in with a sacrifice fly in the third to maintain the two-run lead. The Braves added another run in the fourth when Kevin Pillar hit an RBI double and rode that lead the rest of the way to the three-run win.
Braves starter Spencer Strider had nine strikeouts and allowed four hits in his seven innings, throwing 110 pitches on the mound while picking up his 17th win of the season. The Braves had eight hits as a team and held Philadelphia scoreless outside of the first inning. The Phillies have lost five of their past seven games but still lead the National League wild-card race.
The Braves have won six of their past eight games and took three of four against the Phillies this series. They have 16 games left in the regular season, starting with a three-game run against the Miami Marlins before they run it back with the Phillies in Atlanta next week.
Several other teams in the league are close to clinching division titles and playoff berths, too. The Baltimore Orioles, who have been leading or near the top of MLB’s best division all season, entered Wednesday just three games shy of a playoff spot. The Los Angeles Dodgers started the day four games away from a playoff appearance and an NL West title, and the Tampa Bay Rays are five games away from officially sealing a postseason spot.