Game 3 was worth the wait for the Philadelphia Phillies. After rain forced Game 3 to be postponed Monday, the Phillies and Houston Astros were able to continue the World Series on Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park, and the Phillies rode five home runs to a 7-0 win (box score). They lead the best-of-seven series 2-1. A championship is two wins away for Philadelphia.
Remarkably, the Phillies did not take an at-bat with a runner in scoring position until the sixth inning, after they’d already built a 7-0 lead. Bryce Harper opened the scoring with a two-run homer in the first, and the Phillies kept piling on against Lance McCullers Jr. from there. The Phillies are a perfect 6-0 at home this postseason.
Here are a few takeaways from Game 3 of the World Series.
1. Harper gave the Phillies the lead (again)
Prior to Game 3, the last pitch Harper saw at Citizens Bank Park. That was a pennant-winning homer. And on the first pitch Harper saw in Game 3, . Homers on back-to-back pitches at home.
McCullers’ reaction tells you all you need to know:
“Just trying to get a good pitch over the plate,” Harper said during an in-dugout interview with Fox (video). “We faced (McCullers) late in the year and we saw him pretty well. That’s a good team over there, so being able to strike first is huge.”
The home run was Harper’s sixth of the postseason and his fourth go-ahead homer this October. Only Albert Pujols has hit more go-ahead homers in a single postseason. He had five in 2004. The Astros did well to limit Harper in Games 1 and 2 (2 for 8 with two singles and a walk), but it was only a matter of time until he took one of those game-changing swings. It came early in Game 3.
2. Bohm hit a milestone homer
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the 1,000th home run in World Series history. Alec Bohm did the honors:
The first home run in World Series history was hit in Game 1 of the 1903 World Series, when Jimmy Sebring of the Pittsburgh Pirates took Cy Young of the Boston Americans deep. Cy Young, eh? Can’t get any more brand name than that. Tuesday’s Game 3 was the first time in World Series history a team hit three home runs in the first two innings, if you can believe that.
It should be noted that before Bohm’s at-bat, Harper called him over to the dugout railing to impart some wisdom. Bohm wouldn’t reveal what Harper told him during a dugout interview (why would he?), but Bryce has a reputation for being one of the best in the game at picking up subtle tells in a pitcher’s delivery.?
3. McCullers had a historically bad night
World Series Game 3 vs. Phillies
The Phillies were far from finished after Harper and Bohm hit their homers. Brandon Marsh (solo), Kyle Schwarber (two-run), and Rhys Hoskins (solo) all took McCullers deep later in the game to give Philadelphia a 7-0 lead. McCullers is the first pitcher in history to allow five home runs in a World Series game. Here’s the homer onslaught that put the game out of reach:
McCullers had never allowed more than three homers in a game in his career prior to Game 3. Philadelphia’s lefty hitters saw 34 pitches from the Houston righty, hit three homers, and swung and missed only once. The Phillies are the second team ever to have five different players go deep in a World Series game, joining the 2017 Astros (Game 5).
To be fair to McCullers, he probably should not have been in the game in the fifth inning, and definitely not after Marsh slapped a one-out single. He’d gone through the lineup two times, looked shaky most of the night, and the Astros were still very much in the game down 4-0. McCullers remained in, Schwarber and Hoskins hit back-to-back bombs, and suddenly the game was out of reach.
4. Suárez was excellent
World Series Game 3 vs. Astros
Ranger Suárez’s performance should not be forgotten amid the home run barrage. The 27-year-old southpaw fired five shutout innings against the high-powered Astros and allowed only four of the 19 batters he faced to hit the ball out of the infield (only three on the fly). Seven groundouts, four strikeouts, four singles, and a walk allowed.
Houston has two prime opportunities against Suárez. They put runners on the corners with two outs in the second inning, but Suárez froze Chas McCormick for strike three. They then put runners on first and second with two outs in the fifth, but Jose Altuve got jammed and popped out in four territory. Suárez was cool, calm, and collected, and got big outs when needed.
Once Schwarber and Hoskins broke the game open in the fifth inning, Phillies manager Rob Thomson was able to go to his second-tier relievers to nail down the win. Connor Brogdon got the sixth inning, Kyle Gibson got the seventh, Nick Nelson got the eighth, and Andrew Bellatti finished things off the ninth. José Alvarado and Seranthony Domínguez (and Zack Eflin and David Robertson) got the night off and will be well-rested for Games 4 and 5. That’s a win within in a win. An inception win.
5. The Phillies have dominated at home
The Fightin’ Phils are now a perfect 6-0 at Citizens Bank Park this October and they’ve outhomered their opponents 17-6 — 17-6! — in the six games. No team had ever hit more than 15 homers in a span of six home games in a single postseason before these 2022 Phillies. How about that? The Phillies have outscored their opponents 42-15 in their six postseason home games. The 42 is headliner, but the 15 works out to 2.50 runs allowed per game. That’s excellent.
6. Up Next
Game 4. Historically, when a best-of-seven is tied 1-1, the winner of Game 3 has gone on to win the series a nice 69 percent of the time. That’s good news for the Phillies. Game 4 is Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park. Game 1 starter Aaron Nola (11-13, 3.25 ERA) and righty Cristian Javier (11-9, 2.94 ERA) are the scheduled starting pitchers.