1 of 5 | Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve (C) celebrates with teammates after beating the Minnesota Twins 3-2 in Game 4 of an American League Division Series on Wednesday at Target Field in Minneapolis. Photo by Craig Lassig/UPI | License Photo
Oct. 12 (UPI) -- The Arizona Diamondbacks and Houston Astros clinched respective berths in the National League Championship Series and American League Championship Series by dispatching of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Minnesota Twins on Day 9 of the MLB playoffs.
"We had to do everything we could to try to win that game," Astros manager Dusty Baker told reporters Wednesday in Minneapolis. "We really wanted it."
The Philadelphia Phillies started the night slate with a 10-2 thrashing of the Atlanta Braves, taking a 2-1 lead in their best-of-five National League Division Series on Wednesday in Philadelphia.
The winner of that series will meet the Diamondbacks to contest the National League pennant. The Astros will battle the Texas Rangers for the American League crown and other World Series spot.
The Diamondbacks advanced in record-setting fashion in Wednesday's nightcap. They became the first team in MLB history to slug four home runs in a single inning in their 4-2 triumph over the Dodgers in Phoenix.
Shortstop Geraldo Perdomo began the bat barrage with a 383-foot solo shot off Dodgers starter Lance Lynn to lead off the bottom of the third.
Second baseman Ketel Marte hit a 428-foot solo homer off Lynn two at-bats later. First baseman Christian Walker smacked a 395-foot solo blast off Lynn two at-bats after that.
Catcher Gabriel Moreno hit a 420-foot shot in the next at-bat for the Diamondbacks' final run of Game 3.
The Dodgers rallied for two runs in the seventh, but couldn't close the deficit. Those runs came courtesy of utility men Chris Taylor and Enrique Hernandez, who hit RBI singles.
Marte and outfielder Alek Thomas recorded two hits apiece for the Diamondbacks. Starting pitcher Brandon Pfaadt allowed just two hits and no runs over 4 1/3 innings in the win.
Relief pitchers Andrew Saalfrank, Kevin Ginkel and Paul Sewald combined to allow just one hit and no runs over the final 2 1/3 innings, sealing the series sweep.
In the second game of the day, the Astros used another Jose Abreu home run and strong pitching to slip past the Minnesota Twins 3-2 in Minneapolis.
Starter Jose Urquidy allowed three hits and two runs over 5 2/3 innings. The Astros bullpen then held the Twins without a hit or run over the final 3 1/3 to advance to the American League Championship Series seventh-consecutive postseason.
Twins third baseman Royce Lewis hit a 398-foot solo shot off Urquidy in the bottom of the first. Outfielder Michael Brantley tied the score with a 399-foot shot in the top of the next inning, Abreu then put the Astros ahead for good with a 424-foot, two-run homer in the fourth.
Twins designated hitter Edouard Julien hit a 366-foot solo homer in the bottom of the sixth for the final run of the night.
All-Star first baseman Bryce Harper and outfielder Nick Castellanos hit two home runs apiece in Wednesday's opener, leading the Phillies to their Game 3 blowout of the reigning champion Braves in Philadelphia.
Phillies starter Aaron Nola allowed six hits and two runs over 5 2/3 innings in the victory. The Phillies bullpen surrendered four hits and no runs over the final 3 1/3 innings.
The Phillies scored six runs in 2 2/3 innings off Braves starter Bryce Elder.
Second baseman Ozzie Albies gave the Braves a 1-0 lead with an RBI single in the third before the Phillies offense exploded.
Castellanos hit a 373-foot shot on Elder's second pitch in the bottom of the third. Harper went on to hit a 408-foot, three-run homer off Elder in the same inning. Three at-bats later, Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto also drove in two runs with an RBI double.
Harper led off the bottom of the fifth with a 414-foot solo shot, increasing the lead to 7-1. Shortstop Orlando Arcia plated the Braves' final run with an RBI single in the top of the next inning.
Phillies shortstop Trea Turner responded with a 379-foot solo homer in the bottom of the inning.
Castellanos ripped a 449-foot lead off homer in the eighth. Left fielder Brandon Marsh was responsible for the final run of the night when he hit a 362-foot homer to left field in the next at-bat.
Marsh went 3 for 4 with two runs scored and an RBI. Harper, Castellanos and Turner logged two hits apiece. Designated hitter Marcel Ozuna, National League MVP favorite Ronald Acuna Jr., Albies and third baseman Austin Riley recorded two hits apiece for the Braves.
The Phillies (2-1) will host the Braves (1-2) in Game 4 at 8:07 p.m. EDT Thursday in Philadelphia. Game 5, if necessary, will be Saturday in Atlanta.
The Astros will host the Rangers in Game 1 of the ALCS on Sunday in Houston. Game 1 of the NLCS will be next week.