Photograph: Bill Streicher / USA Today Sports
The Philadelphia Phillies are two wins on the most unlikely of titles after equaling a World Series record with five home runs in a 7-0 win against favorites Houston Astros on Tuesday night in Game 3.
Related: World Series Game 3: Houston Astros 0-7 Philadelphia Phillies – how it happened
Bryce Harper scored a two-point home run from the first field which he tackled in the bottom of the first inning, Alec Bohm and Brandon Marsh added solo shots in the second, then Kyle Schwarber and Rhys Hoskins went back in the fifth. All of the long balls came from Houston star Lance McCullers Jr, who became the first pitcher to give five home runs in a World Series game.
That was more than enough for Ranger Suarez, the Phillies’ unannounced left-handed starter who scattered three hits in five goalless innings against the mighty Astros lineup. From there Connor Brogdon, Kyle Gibson, Nick Nelson and Andrew Bellatti added a goalless frame each to complete the Phillies’ five-shot and first shutout in the Fall Classic game since 1993.
“He’s just a kid with no heartbeat,” said Philadelphia receiver JT Realmuto of Suarez, a longtime Phillie who signed with the club as a teenager in 2012. “He looks like he’s playing a kid’s game.”
The best opportunity for the Astros came with two eliminated at the top of the fifth when Chas McCormick and Martin Maldonado reached base, but Suarez convinced a Jose Altuve pop-up to retire the team. Moments later, Schwarber and Hoskins went to the construction site in consecutive appearances on the plate to chase McCullers from the game as they sent the crowd of 45,712 sold-out fans into pandemonium.
“It was astounding because he doesn’t give up on homers,” said McCullers’ Houston manager Dusty Baker. “He Usually he keeps the ball in the stadium. He wasn’t satisfied with it. We were very surprised. “
Long-suffering Phillies fans had waited 4,746 days for World Series baseball to return to South Philadelphia – then one more day after Game 3 was postponed for 24 hours due to heavy rain on Monday night – and gave the champions of the American League an ear gives the first beat. Roaring chants of “Swindlers! Swindlers!” dropped off the top deck all night, a nod to the Houston sign theft scandal that tainted their first and only World Series title in 2017.
“Just getting into the baseball field, just coming home, is such a momentum for us just because of the sheer fact of our fan base,” said Harper, making his World Series debut three years after joining the Phillies. with the then record $ 330m, 13-year contract. “We all come here and we are ready to go and we are excited to take the field because we know they will show up and there will be 46,000 people here screaming and going crazy.
“The whole city is so excited to be in the moment and we’re just 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 to be a historic discrepancy. Houston won 19 more games than Philadelphia during the regular season, the biggest disparity between World Series opponents in all 118 editions but one: when the Cubs with 116 wins were beaten by the White Sox with 93 wins in 1906.
But the Phillies, the last team to qualify for the playoffs and the first third-place club ever to reach the World Series, caught fire at just the right moment. They’ve improved to six wins from six at home in the postseason, with a total of 17 home runs in those games, and seem determined to finish things here rather than return to Houston for their final two scheduled best-of-seven games. encounter.
“The only thing I can compare it to is really a European football match,” Phillies right fielder Nick Castellanos said of the team’s home advantage, comparing it to a trip he made to Anfield to watch Liverpool. “It’s difficult to play here, even as a home player, but I can’t imagine what it will be like for the Astros right now. They really have zero breath. And this is a good thing ”.
The Phillies’ five homers in a single World Series game have equaled a record set on three previous occasions: the New York Yankees of 1928, the Oakland A’s of 1989, and the Astros of 2017, which were found to be using cameras and monitors to steal. the signs of the opposing catchers.
Throughout history, when the World Series were tied one game each, the winner of Race 3 won the title more than two-thirds of the time (41 out of 61 in total).
The series resumes with Game 4 on Wednesday night, when Houston sends Cristian Javier to the mound against Phillies ace Aaron Nola, who will be working on normal rest due to Monday’s postponement.