PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia Phillies set the record for most home runs in a World Series game, hitting five in Game 3 in a 7-0 win over the Houston Astros Tuesday night.
All five home runs came from starter Lance McCullers Jr., a record for most home runs abandoned by a pitcher in a World Series game.
Familiarity was a key to Philadelphia’s offensive performance.
“He’s a guy we saw in Houston at the end of the year,” said catcher JT Realmuto after the win. “Had to see his pitches back then. He just left pitches in the middle of the plate today.”
The Astros hosted the Phillies in the closing days of the regular season when McCullers gave up a six-inning run. Tuesday had a very different result. Bryce Harper (first inning), Alec Bohm (second), Brandon Marsh (second), Kyle Schwarber (fifth), and Rhys Hoskins (fifth) all went deep, making the Phillies the first team in history to hit five homers in the first five innings of a World Series game.
“We talked about it before the game, just tried to get hold of him early, tried to get hold of him a lot,” Harper said.
Before Bohm’s homer in the second inning, Harper called him from the circle on deck to the dugout and gave him some quick advice.
When asked if he and Bohm have discussed McCullers potentially flipping his pitches, Harper said, “I think that’s just general conversation. We try to get as much information from each other as possible. We were just trying to have the best bats we could.”
Böhm smiled when asked what Harper had told him.
“It’s between us,” he said in an on-air interview with Fox.
Bohm remained shy when asked if Harper’s words had helped him in his fight.
“Maybe,” he said with another smile.
Schwarber and Hoskins’ home runs were back-to-back, with Schwarber’s blast — a 443-foot shot to dead center — traveling the furthest. Philadelphia hit home runs on four types of pitches, including two sliders, a change-up, a curveball, and a sinker. Prior to Tuesday, the McCullers had not given up a single home run in 651 off-speed pitches thrown this season (regular season and playoffs).
“Listen, I am who I am,” McCullers said. “I’m going to throw a lot of off-speed. Everyone knows that.”
Again, Phillies hitters attributed their success to knowing what McCuller’s pitches were like, rather than knowing what was in store for them.
“Field form,” Hoskins said. “And what each pitch does. What it looks like for right-handers and left-handers. We did a great job tonight.”
When McCullers came into play, he had given up just three earned runs in 11 postseason innings that month. He was drawn after the fifth home run, which lasted only 4 1/3 innings and gave up all seven runs. He allowed just four homers in eight regular-season starts this season.
All that power on the plate assisted Phillies starter Ranger Suarez, who threw five shutout innings and gave up just three hits and one walk. Suarez’s stuff was excellent, as was the roaring crowd in Philadelphia, a constant theme at home games where the Phillies are 6-0 this postseason.
“The sinker worked brilliantly tonight,” Suarez said through an interpreter. “It had really good movement. My cutter and changeup were really good too. I induced a lot of grounders with those pitches.
“To touch the fans, they were excellent tonight as always. You definitely gave me a plus. You inject this energy that you don’t get anywhere else.”
Suarez had kept the crowd busy on several two-strike pitches, but it was Harper who started the early fireworks with his first inning to right field. He’s hitting .382 this postseason after hitting his sixth home run in the playoffs.
“I’m just so focused on winning,” Harper said. “I’m not focused on anything other than that. I just have the opportunity to come here and I’m grateful for the opportunity to be here. I’m just grateful to be here with this team and this organization. I’m not really worried about anything else.”
The Phillies have 17 home runs this postseason, the third most in a single postseason ever. They lead Wednesday’s best-of-seven series 2-1 in Game 4.
https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/34929384/phillies-tie-world-series-record-5-homers-win-game-3 Phillies tie World Series record with 5 homers to win Game 3