Philadelphia took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven Fall Classic after Ranger Suárez shut down Houston’s dangerous lineup in a 7-0 win Tuesday following a record-setting quintet of homers off Astros starter Lance McCullers Jr. by Phillies Alec Bohm, Bryce Harper, Brandon Marsh, Kyle Schwarber, and Rhys Hoskins.
Philadelphia fans had been waiting almost 5,000 days for a World Series game, which had to be rescheduled due to rain. The skies above Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday were clear for those hungry Philly fans as they basked in the Game 3 victory.
The Phillies last appeared in the World Series in 2009, just a year after defeating the Rays in 2008 for their last title. The outcome of Wednesday’s game was likely worth the wait.
“Hitting itself is a contagious thing without the crowd,” Hoskins told MLB.com after the win. “You throw in the crowd and the noise and the cheers, and I think it just makes it even more contagious.”
The best gift the Phillies could have given their fans was to ensure their first World Series appearance in 13 years against the Houston Astros — Major League Baseball’s most boo-able team.
This free-spirited Phillies team appears to be the ideal match for this fiery city. Kyle Schwarber ran to left field, waving, pointing, and putting his hand behind his ear as if he wanted every fan watching to yell as loudly as they could.
Harper circled the bases, gestured proudly to the team’s name across his chest, and crossed home plate with a 2-0 lead, with the crowd already on its feet, attentive and audible.
“We all come in here, and we’re ready to go, and we’re excited to get on the field because we know they’re going to show up, and there’s going to be 46,000 people here screaming and yelling and going crazy,” said Harper told MLB.com.
In 472/3 regular-season innings, Lance McCullers allowed four home runs. He made history by becoming the first World Series pitcher to allow five home runs in a postseason game. Everything pointed to McCullers tipping his pitches, as the Phillies were sitting on his fastball and were comfortable against his breaking balls.
McCullers stated that he does not mind tipping pitches. The Houston Astros’ manager, Dusty Baker, speculated that the Phillies were sitting on breaking balls because McCullers relies heavily on a curveball and a slider.
Hoskins denied knowing anything specific about the Phillies and attributed their success to a strict adherence to a game plan that included waiting for breaking balls in the zone.
“He had had two good innings, two real good innings,” Baker said. “And then they hit a blooper, a homer, and then I couldn’t get anybody loose. I mean, it was my decision.”
Philadelphia is undefeated this postseason in Citizens Bank Park, now 6-0 after scoring a run differential of +27, that is, 42 runs.
In Game 5, Philadelphia will send Aaron Nola to the mound in a potential championship clincher. The Astros will counter with Cristian Javier in an attempt to secure a return to Houston.
The game begins at 8:03 p.m. ET on Wednesday, November 2.