PHILADELPHIA — The Phillies brought back a crop of this city’s sports champions that included Mike Schmidt, Julius Erving, Bernie Parent and Brandon Graham on Tuesday to celebrate the first World Series game at Citizens Bank Park since 2009.
It got loud fast, but that was only the warm-up act for what followed.
In a display of brute force, the Phillies mashed five home runs in a 7-0 demolition of the Astros in Game 3 of the World Series. The Phillies, ahead 2-1 in the series, are within two victories of winning their first World Series in 14 years.
Bryce Harper, Alec Bohm, Brandon Marsh, Kyle Schwarber and Rhys Hoskins all homered on a night Astros right-hander Lance McCullers Jr., might as well have walked to the plate and placed his pitches on a tee. McCullers became the first pitcher in World Series history to allow five homers in a game.
The sellout crowd of 45,712 roared with approval for their hometown heroes, who had only one homer to show in splitting the two games in Houston over the weekend. That lone blast from J.T. Realmuto (in the 10th inning) provided the margin of victory in Game 1.
This was fast and furious. The Astros were hit by a bus and never recovered.
Left-hander Ranger Suarez was sharp with five shutout innings before the Phillies bullpen handled the rest. The Phillies plan to send Aaron Nola to the mound in Game 4 against Cristian Javier. The Game 5 matchup will likely be Noah Syndergaard against Justin Verlander.
In the best performance by a Phillies starting pitcher in this series, Suarez allowed three hits and one walk with four strikeouts in lowering his ERA this postseason to 1.23. It came after Nola and Zack Wheeler were flat in their respective starts in Games 1 and 2.
The Astros entered this series 7-0 in the postseason, but may have met their match in a Phillies team riding the momentum of reaching the playoffs as the National League’s No. 6 seed and then beating the Cardinals, Braves and Padres to reach the World Series.
Harper smacked a two-run homer in the first inning on this night to get the party started. Schwarber walked leading off the game against McCullers and with two outs, Harper hit the first pitch he saw into the right-field seats. The blast was Harper’s sixth this postseason.
Bohm, who was approached in the on-deck circle by Harper before leading off the second, hit a line drive into the left-field seats on the first pitch to extend the Phillies’ lead to 3-0. McCullers struck out the next two batters before Marsh cleared the right-field fence. It was the first time a team hit three homers in the first two innings of a World Series game.
McCullers’ demise was complete in the fifth on consecutive homers by Schwarber and Hoskins that buried the Astros in a 7-0 hole. Schwarber hit a rocket over the center-field fence for two runs and Hoskins hit a slider into the left-field seats that ended McCullers’ night.
The right-hander lasted only 4 ¹/₃ innings and surrendered seven earned runs on six hits with five strikeouts and one walk. McCullers had allowed only one homer to a lefty all season, but surrendered three on Tuesday.