World Series: Phillies Hit 5 Homers in Game 3 Win Over Astros

World Series: Phillies Hit 5 Homers in Game 3 Win Over Astros

Phillies 7, Astros 0 | Philadelphia Leads World Series, 2-1

In the first World Series game in Philadelphia since 2009, the Phillies took Houston’s Lance McCullers Jr. deep five times and cruised to victory.

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Bryce Harper’s two-run home run in the first inning set the tone as Philadelphia crushed Houston in Game 3 of the World Series on Tuesday.Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Published Nov. 1, 2022Updated Nov. 2, 2022, 1:37 a.m. ET

PHILADELPHIA — It had been more than a week since fans in Philadelphia had seen their team in person, plenty of time to savor the lasting image from that day: A dramatic eighth-inning, go-ahead home run by Bryce Harper. It was a defining two-run blast that all but clinched the National League pennant for the surprising, streaking Phillies.

It took nine days for them to play at home again, but on the very next pitch Harper saw at Citizens Bank Park, in the first inning of Tuesday’s game, he rocketed a drive deep into the right field bleachers for another two-run home run.

It was a breathtaking way to welcome the World Series back to Philadelphia after a 12-year absence, and it did more than just set a thunderous tone. It lit the fuse for a barrage of home runs for the home team — five in all — as the Phillies hammered the Houston Astros, 7-0, in Game 3 of the World Series.

“Right now baseball is rolling for us, and hitting is contagious,” said Nick Castellanos, the Phillies right fielder. “Everyone is just happy and in a good mood and it’s rolling. It’s someone different every night. Well, it’s Bryce most nights.”

Harper has six home runs in the postseason and four of them gave the Phillies the lead. And the hitting contagion that Castellanos mentioned may be more than just something in the air. The Phillies are carefully scouting, scrutinizing and analyzing their opponents’ pitching, and sharing all relevant information with one another.

After Harper rounded the bases amid an ear-shattering roar from his jubilant supporters, he whispered instructions to his teammate, Alec Bohm. An inning later Bohm hit a homer that happened to be the 1,000th in World Series history.

Home run No. 1,001 came two outs after that, off the bat of Brandon Marsh, and Kyle Schwarber and Rhys Hoskins followed suit in consecutive at-bats in the fifth inning. All five home runs came off Lance McCullers, Jr., the Phillies starting pitcher, who earned the unfortunate distinction of becoming the first pitcher to surrender five home runs in a World Series game.

McCullers seemed uncomfortable from early in the first inning, and may also have been tipping his pitches — doing something to inadvertently give away his pitch choices to the eagerly awaiting Phillies sluggers.

Phillies Hit 1,950 Feet of Home Runs

Ben ShpigelReporting from Citizens Bank Park

Phillies Hit 1,950 Feet of Home Runs

Ben ShpigelReporting from Citizens Bank ParkDoug Mills/The New York TimesThe Phillies on Tuesday became the fourth team ever — like, ever — to hit five homers in a World Series game, and all of them came off Houston’s Lance McCullers Jr. The balls traveled a combined 1,950 feet. That’s far.

Let’s review them all, shall we? →

Phillies Hit 1,950 Feet of Home Runs

Ben ShpigelReporting from Citizens Bank ParkDoug Mills/The New York TimesThe ball Bryce Harper mashed into the seats in right-center for his sixth homer of the postseason, should have had an obituary written about it. It lived a good life. R.I.P.

Phillies Hit 1,950 Feet of Home Runs

Ben ShpigelReporting from Citizens Bank ParkElsa/Getty ImagesAlec Bohm’s liner might have scraped the top of Yordan Alvarez’s cap on its flight over the flower beds in left field, and at a speed — 109.2 miles per hour, according to Statcast — considered unattainable on my first car.

Phillies Hit 1,950 Feet of Home Runs

Ben ShpigelReporting from Citizens Bank ParkDoug Mills/The New York TimesBrandon Marsh 9-ironed a ball into the first row of seats in right field, with it popping out of the glove of a 10-year-old boy, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer, and requiring a replay review to confirm it was gone. It was.

Phillies Hit 1,950 Feet of Home Runs

Ben ShpigelReporting from Citizens Bank ParkDoug Mills/The New York TimesThe ivy-covered batter’s eye in center field at Citizens Bank Park is 35 feet high. Kyle Schwarber’s homer might have still been rising when the ball struck it, about three-quarters of the way up, an estimated 443 feet away.

Phillies Hit 1,950 Feet of Home Runs

Ben ShpigelReporting from Citizens Bank ParkSarah Stier/Getty ImagesRhys Hoskins trailed Harper for the postseason lead in home runs for four innings. His sixth of the playoffs landed not far from where Bohm’s did.

More coverage of Game 3 of the World Series:

McCullers dismissed that possibility, but the Phillies indicated they had been on to something.

“I think anytime you have information you want to be able to give that to your teammates at any point,” Harper said.

Castellanos heaped praise on the Phillies’ scouting and analytics department. “I just give credit to the people whose homework it is to watch and come up with any tendencies that might be an advantage to us,” he said, “and they are very good at their job.”

The Phillies became the fourth team to hit five in a World Series game, joining the 2017 Astros, the 1989 Athletics and the 1928 Yankees, all of whom went on to win the World Series.

The Phillies are halfway there, too. They took a two-games-to-one lead in the series, with Game 4 set for Wednesday. Aaron Nola of the Phillies will face Houston’s Cristian Javier, with a chance to lead Philadelphia to a two-game lead. Of the previous 61 times a Fall Classic was tied by 1-1, the team that won Game 3 went on to win the series 41 times, or 67 percent of the time.

The Astros, who were favored to win the championship, have looked overwhelmed at times and are in jeopardy of losing their third chance at a title in the last four years, all of which came after revelations that they had used illicit means to steal opposing teams’ signs during their 2017 championship season.

“We’ve got to score some runs,” said Alex Bregman, the Astros veteran third baseman, “and put together something on the offensive side of the ball, if we want to win.”

Tuesday’s game, which was postponed a day because of rain, marked the first time the Astros had played in Philadelphia since those revelations, the first chance for the fans to unleash their venomous boos and chants of “Cheater, cheater.”

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Phillies fans enthusiastically booed the Astros throughout the game.Credit…Doug Mills/The New York TimesThey booed when the Astros took the field for batting practice two hours before the first pitch, they booed when the Astros came off the field, when their names were announced during pregame introductions and when each one came to bat. The loudest boos and chants were reserved for Jose Altuve and Bregman, the infielders who were as important to the 2017 team as they are to the current group.

But all of the booing took a back seat to cheering for their own team’s home runs.

“They showed up tonight knowing that we needed ’em,” Harper said of the fans, “and they continue to do that.”

It was a nightmarish game for McCullers, who seemed to be battling with his own mechanics from the outset and had trouble commanding his pitches throughout the game. The Phillies noticed he was fidgety and uncomfortable, checking his fingernail, from the moment he walked Schwarber to lead off the game.

“It’s hard to play here in Philly, man,” Castellanos said. “We could see that he was kind of iffy from the start of the game and I think we, as a group, sensed that, and we didn’t let out foot off the gas.”

Astros Manager Dusty Baker had several opportunities to remove McCullers, but left him in to suffer more torment under the weight of the Phillies’ lumber. But finally, after Schwarber and Hoskins went deep in back-to-back at-bats in the fifth, Baker trudged from the dugout to offer a lifeline.

Baker said he did not want to tax his bullpen and McCullers said that he agreed with the strategy, and wanted to stay in the game and get Hoskins out. Instead, he only made history.

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Kyle Schwarber absolutely crushed a home run in the fifth inning.Credit…Doug Mills/The New York TimesSchwarber’s two-run home run was a particularly majestic, towering drive that bounced off the ivy-covered wall in center field, 443 feet from home plate. McCullers just turned and watched it fly, along with the other 45,000 people in the stadium.

“It was kind of mind-boggling,” Baker said, “because he doesn’t give up homers.”

While McCullers struggled, Ranger Suárez, the Phillies starter, soared. Making his first World Series start, the unflappable lefty threw five shutout innings and allowed only three singles, two of which were on ground balls.

Like Harper, Suárez had starred in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series against the San Diego Padres. Harper’s two-run homer had given the Phillies the lead in that game, and Suárez got the final two outs for the save.

“Ranger doesn’t get nervous,” Rob Thomson, the Phillies’ manager, said before the game. “He’s a pretty calm character. You saw what he did in Game 5 of the Padres series. It doesn’t matter the game state, the inning, what the score is, what his role is, he just goes out and pitches.”

Of course, it is a lot easier to pitch when your teammates are mercilessly pounding the opponent’s pitcher. It was a perfect way for Philadelphia to welcome its team, and the World Series, back to town.

“The world might be shocked by what’s going on,” Castellanos said. “But I don’t think a lot of us are shocked by what’s going on.”

Ben Shpigel contributed reporting.

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