PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Bryce Harper hammered his sixth postseason home run, whispered an assist to Alec Bohm before his solo shot and the Philadelphia Phillies set a World Series record with five home runs to defeat the Houston Astros 7-0 Tuesday night defeat and get a 2 -1 series lead.
Brandon Marsh also hit a homer, and Kyle Schwarber and Rhys Hoskins hit back-to-back shots in the fifth inning to chase Astros starter Lance McCullers Jr. Philadelphia used the long ball to end the long wait for its first World Series home win since Game 5 of the 2009 World Series.
These Phillies couldn’t finish the job.
Ranger Suárez threw a three-hit ball over five shutout innings, bringing this year’s team closer to their goal.
Harper, Bohm, Marsh and the rest of the Phillies on the last team to qualify for the playoffs are two wins away from finishing the season last. With a sparkling 6-0 record at Citizens Bank Park this postseason, the Phillies may not return to Texas.
“This is our fan base. I mean, plain and simple,” Harper said. “They keep us going, keep us going.”
Another red, noisy, determined crowd of 45,712 sent the Astros chanting “cheaters! Cheater!” for Jose Altuve and “Check the Bat! Check the Bat!” for Martin Maldonado.
The fans – already excited about the jump after another slip catch by right fielder Nick Castellanos in the first jump – didn’t wait long to get excited for the home run’s barrage.
With leadoff hitter Schwarber at first base, Harper repeated his sense of playoff power as he ripped McCullers to the right field seats with a two-run shot for a quick lead. That’s what Harper did 2 for 2 on home run swings in Philly – he sent the Phillies to the World Series with a two-run drive in Game 5 of the NL Championship Series to beat San Diego.
Harper went over the plate and again shouted, “This is my house!” before ripping off his helmet, exposing his Phillie Phanatic headband and being bullied by teammates in the dugout.
Harper’s home runs shake the stadium to the point where they should be measured in feet on the Richter scale—and they seem as automatic these days as a Phillie Phanatic spin on his ATV. Harper hit four postseason homers that gave the Phillies the lead and showed Bryce Bombs going up in November, the first time that month has played more World Series games than October.
Oh, and Harper could have a second career as a Homer whisperer.
Harper waved Bohm out of the circle on deck and back to the dugout for some quick advice.
Maybe Harper saw McCullers tip his pitches?
“I think that’s just general conversation,” Harper said. “We try to get as much information from each other as possible. We just tried to have the best bats we could.
Whatever the silent advice was, it worked, and Bohm pitched his first postseason homer, scoring the second inning and the 1,000. led to a 3-0 lead in the left field seats in World Series history.
So come on Alec, confess what did Bryce tell you?
“That stays between us,” Böhm said on television with a shrug and a big smile.
Marsh took the baton on the long ball relay, hitting one on the right field seats that was dropped by a young Delaware kid. The home run came after a quick check – it seems nothing can stop Philadelphia’s playoff push – and it was 4-0.
McCullers had allowed his first nine batters four home runs. The right-hander, who had his left tricep inked with a nod to Houston, was absolutely tattooed by the Phillies.
Schwarber, the NL home run champion, threw another two-run shot into a thicket of English ivy, arborvitae and holly behind midfield, and Hoskins hit with a solo shot for a 7-0 lead that ended McCullers’ evening .
McCullers became the first pitcher to give up five home runs in a World Series game.
“We talked about it before the game, just tried to get on him early, tried to get on him a lot,” Harper said.
Suarez, the scheduled starter of Game 4 before Game 3 was delayed a day by rain, delivered a career performance and knocked out the big bats in the AL champions lineup.
He only needed two pitches to get the first two out of the game and beat Jordan Alvarez to finish the first. From the few jams he got into, Suarez worked his way out of it, particularly in the second when he smelled Chas McCormick and stranded two runners. He pulled Altuve back to finish the fifth with a soft two-runner foul pop on base.
Four assists each threw a scoreless inning to end the five-hitter.
THE CHAMPIONS ARE HERE
Philly esports champions Mike Schmidt, Julius Erving, Brandon Graham and Bernie Parent pitched the first pitches to 2008 World Series champions Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels, Jayson Werth and Shane Victorino. Country music star Tim McGraw, son of the late Phillies redeemer Tug McGraw, received a huge ovation while wearing his father’s #45 McGraw jersey. McGraw ended the 1980 World Series with a strikeout.
The Phillies send RHP Aaron Nola (2-1, 4.57 ERA in the postseason) to the mound in Game 4 against Houston RHP Christian Javier (1-0, 1.35 ERA). Nola was done after 4 1/3 innings in Game 1 of the World Series, despite retiring the last six batters he faced and exiting in a tie after the Phillies recovered from an early 5-0 deficit — and won 6-5.
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