PHILS RED OCTOBER ENDS TONIGHT UNLESS SCHWARBER, TURNER, HARPER AND CASTY ANSWER THE CALL!

By Sam Bush

After losing the first two games of the NL Championship Series, the Arizona Diamondbacks are one win from their first World Series since 2001.

Tommy Pham and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. hit back-to-back homers and Merrill Kelly struck out eight before his early hook to help Arizona force Game 7 with a 5-1 win over the Phillies.

The winner of tonight’s game advances to the World Series against Texas, which beat Houston for the AL pennant.

Kelly and four relievers combined to shut down the Phillies and stifle their rousing run of success at Citizens Bank Park. Arizona’s bullpen didn’t allow a runner to reach second.

Kyle Schwarber, Trea Turner and Bryce Harper, the top three hitters in the Phils batting order, went 0 for 9 with four strikeouts. Nick Castellanos was 0 for 4, dropping to 1 for 20 in the series.

Philadelphia lost at home for the first time in seven home postseason games. The Phillies dropped Games 4 and 5 to Houston in the World Series but had won 11 straight postseason home games against NL opposition.

Pham said Arizona gave notice the team is as resilient as any that played this postseason.

“We always felt like if we got some good pitching, played great defense, and we played our game, that we could win this,” he said.

The Phillies sent Aaron Nola to the mound — a year to the day after they beat San Diego to win the NL pennant — in hopes of making it two straight trips to the World Series.

Nola was lights out in every postseason start, pitching against the backdrop that the pending free agent could be down to his final games with the Phillies. He was 3-0 with a 0.96 ERA in October.

Make it 3-1.

Nola allowed homers to Pham and Gurriel in almost the same spots in the left field seats, the first ones the longest-tenured Phillies player allowed all postseason.

A sign this wouldn’t be Nola’s night? Pham was benched for Game 5 because of a 1-for-13 effort in the NLCS.

Nola walked light-hitting Alek Thomas, who hit a tying, two-run homer in Game 4, and Evan Longoria doubled for a 3-0 lead. Longoria, who played for Tampa Bay against the Phillies in the 2008 World Series, had been 1 for 12 in the series.

“They didn’t miss too many balls over the plate,” Nola said.

Philadelphia had never trailed by more than two runs in the postseason until the second.

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