The Phillies clinched their postseason berth in style Tuesday night.
A walk-off single up the middle by rookie center fielder Johan Rojas gave the Phillies a 3-2 win over the Pirates in 10 innings at Citizens Bank Park and also secured the National League’s top wild-card spot for the defending pennant winners.
Philadelphia, which will host the best-of-three wild card series, is back in the postseason for the second straight year for the first time since 2010-11.
“I hope we can win this thing this year,” said ex-Met Zack Wheeler, according to MLB.com.
The Phillies put themselves in a strong spot entering this week to grab one of the NL’s three wild card spots, especially with six games on tap against the eliminated Pirates and Mets.
Tuesday’s game featured a nice pitching matchup between Aaron Nola and Mitch Keller, and the Phillies held a 2-1 lead entering the eighth inning before Craig Kimbrel surrendered a game-tying homer to Henry Davis.
The game entered extra innings with a 2-2 score, and Phillies reliever Jeff Hoffman kept Pittsburgh off the board in the top of the 10th.
Rojas then gave Phillies fans a moment to remember by ripping a one-out single up the middle off David Bednar to score Brandon Marsh.
“It’s honestly surreal,” said Rojas, per MLB.com. “I didn’t think I was going to be here, but it’s really, really cool to be here.”
The Phillies made a run to the World Series last year as the final third wild-card team, but will have a higher seed this time around.
Philadelphia, the fourth seed, will likely welcome either the Diamondbacks, Cubs, Marlins or Reds, depending on how this week shakes out.
Arizona currently has a one-game lead on the Cubs for the fifth wild card spot, a 1.5-game lead on the Marlins and a 2.5-game lead on the Reds.
The games will be played at Citizens Bank Park from Oct. 3-5.
The Phillies swept the third-seeded Cardinals in the wild card round last year before disposing of the top-seeded Braves in four games and bouncing the Padres in five games to reach the World Series.
Philadelphia fell to the Astros in six games.
“We’re a really good team,” said Bryce Harper, according to MLB.com. “We’re a really good group of guys. We were last year as well. But this year, hope we get there and finish the job.”