The Philadelphia Phillies are two wins away from the most unlikely title after tying a World Series record with five home runs in a 7-0 loss to the favorite Houston Astros on Tuesday night in Game 3.
Bryce Harper hit a two-run homer on the first pitch he faced late in the first inning, Alec Bohm and Brandon Marsh added solo shots in the second, then Kyle Schwarber and Rhys Hoskins returned backs back in the fifth. All of the long pitches came from Houston starter Lance McCullers Jr, who became the first pitcher to serve five homers in a World Series game.
That was more than enough for Ranger Suarez, the left-handed Phillies starter who scattered three hits in five scoreless innings against the Astros’ powerhouse. From there, Connor Brogdon, Kyle Gibson, Nick Nelson and Andrew Bellatti added a scoreless frame apiece to complete the Phillies’ five-batter and first shutout in Fall Classic play since 1993.
The Astros’ best opportunity came with two outs in the top of the fifth when Chas McCormick and Martin Maldonado reached base, but Suarez persuaded a Jose Altuve pop-up to put the team out.
Long-suffering Phillies fans had waited 4,746 days for World Series baseball to return to South Philadelphia — then another day after Game 3 was postponed 24 hours due to heavy rain Monday night — and were gave the American League champions a first-to-bat ear. Roaring chants of “Cheaters! Cheaters! cascaded from the upper deck throughout the night, a nod to Houston’s sign-stealing scandal that tainted their first and only World Series title in 2017.
“Just walking into the ballpark, just being back home, is such a boost for us just for the sheer fact of our fanbase,” said Harper, making his World Cup debut. Series three years after joining the Phillies with a record $330. m, 13-year contract. “We’re all coming here and we’re ready to go and we’re excited to step onto the pitch because we know they’re going to show up and there’s going to be 46,000 people here screaming and screaming and going crazy.
“This whole city is so excited to be right now and we’re thrilled to be able to play in front of them and have this opportunity and just be here with them.”
On paper, this year’s Fall Classic seemed like a historic shift. Houston has won 19 more games than Philadelphia in the regular season, the biggest disparity between World Series opponents in all but one edition: when the 116-win Cubs were beaten by the 93-win White Sox in 1906.
But the Phillies, the last team to qualify for the playoffs and the first third-place club to reach the World Series, caught fire at the right time. They’ve gone to six-of-six home playoff wins, with a total of 17 homers in those games, and seem determined to finish here rather than return to Houston for the final two scheduled best-of-seven contests.
“The only thing I can compare it to is really a game of European football,” Phillies right fielder Nick Castellanos said of the team’s home-field advantage. “It’s tough to play here, even as a home player, but I can’t imagine what it’s like for the Astros right now. They really have no wiggle room. And this is a good thing.
Historically, when the World Series has been tied at one game apiece, the winner of Game 3 has won the title more than two-thirds of the time (41 of 61 overall). The series resumes with Game 4 on Wednesday night, when Houston sends Cristian Javier to the mound against Phillies ace Aaron Nola, who will work on the normal rest due to Monday’s postponement.
. Phillies tie score of World Series with five home runs in win third game vs Astros World Trials