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NLCS: Wheeler silences Arizona as Phillies move within one win of pennant

Zack Wheeler delivered another postseason gem with seven shutdown innings, Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber and JT Realmulto homered and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 6-1 on Saturday night to take a 3-2 NL Championship Series lead.

Philadelphia moved one win from their second straight World Series appearance, regaining control after wasting late leads in consecutive one-run losses at Chase Field.

“Everything was fantastic,” Schwarber said. “It was a great response. Obviously, didn’t work out the way we wanted last night, but it was great that we were able to turn the page and really put our focus and effort into this one.”

Bryson Stott hit an RBI single and Harper slid home in a collision with catcher Gabriel Moreno as part of a double steal that built a 2-0 lead in the first off Zac Gallen.

Schwarber’s homer was his fifth in the NLCS and 20th of his postseason career as the Philadelphia lineup roughed up Gallen for a second time this series. Schwarber’s sixth-inning drive traveled 461 feet over the swimming pool beyond the right-center fence, quieting a crowd of 47,897. Two batters later, Harper hit a 444-foot homer into the right-field seats.

GREAT JOB KYLE! pic.twitter.com/1QGGAoXWqV

— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) October 22, 2023

Realmuto added a two-run homer in the eighth against Luis Frías for 6-1 lead.

“Everyone was ready to go,” Schwarber said.

The series resumes Monday in Philadelphia, where the Phillies are 6-0 this postseason with 17 homers.

Wheeler, a 33-year-old right-hander, gave up one run and five hits with a walk while striking out eight. He is 3-0 with a 2.08 ERA in four postseason starts this year, striking out 34 and walking two in 26 innings.

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“He gave us exactly what we needed,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said.

Gallen gave up four runs and six hits six innings, dropping to 2-2 with a 5.24 in four playoff outings. He allowed five runs over five innings in taking the Game 1 loss to Wheeler.

Alek Thomas homered in the seventh for the Diamondbacks, a day after his tying home run in the eighth sparked Arizona to a series-evening win. Thomas has a team record four homers this postseason.

Schwarber, batting .412 with five solo homers in the series, reached on an infield single starting the game and scored on Stott’s two-out single. Stott’s dash for second on a steal drew a throw from Moreno to second baseman Ketel Marte, who stepped in front of the base and made an errant return throw that bounced past Moreno.

Harper collided with Moreno at home plate, dazing the catcher, but who remained in the game. Umpires ruled Harper couldn’t have avoided the collision because Marte’s throw drew Moreno down the third-base line.