Sports

Phillies tie World Series mark with five home runs in Game 3 win over Astros


The Philadelphia Phillies are two wins from the most improbable of titles after matching a World Series record with five home runs in a 7-0 battering of the Houston Astros on Tuesday night in Game 3.

Bryce Harper hit a two-run home run off the first pitch he faced 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 to back in the fifth. All of the long balls came off Houston starter Lance McCullers Jr, who became the first pitcher to give up five home runs in a World Series game.

That was more than enough for Ranger Suarez, the Phillies’ left-handed starter who scattered three hits over five scoreless innings against the Astros’ potent lineup. From there Connor Brogdon, Kyle Gibson, Nick Nelson and Andrew Bellatti added one scoreless inning apiece to complete the five-hitter and the Phillies’ first shutout in Fall Classic play since 1993.

The Phillies’ long-suffering fans had waited 4,746 days for the return of World Series baseball to South Philadelphia – then one day more after Game 3 was postponed 24 hours due to heavy rainfall on Monday night – and gave the American League champions an earful from the first at-bat. Rolling chants of “Cheaters! Cheaters!” cascaded down from the upper deck throughout the night, a nod to the Houston sign-stealing scandal that tainted their first and only World Series title in 2017.

“It’s our fan base. I mean, plain and simple.” said Harper, a World Series debutant three years after joining the Phillies on a then-record $330m, 13-year contract. “They keep us going, keep us fired up.”

On paper this year’s Fall Classic appeared a historic mismatch. Houston won 19 more games than Philadelphia during the regular season, the largest disparity between World Series opponents in all but one of 118 editions of the Fall Classic: 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 team ever to reach the World Series – have caught fire at the right time. They improved to six wins from six at home in the postseason and appear hell-bent on finishing matters here rather than returning to Houston for the final two games.

Over history, when the World Series has been tied at one game apiece, the Game 3 winner has gone on to win the title more than two-thirds of the time (41 of 61 overall).

Play resumes on Wednesday night when Philadelphia will send Aaron Nola to the mound against Houston’s Cristian Javier in Game 4.



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