The Philadelphia Phillies took a 2-1 lead in the World Series as Bryce Harper led the hosts to victory in a thumping 7-0 game three win over the Houston Astros at a raucous Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.
|What:||Houston Astros v Philadelphia Phillies; World Series, Game Four of Seven|
|Where:||Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania|
|When:||00:03 GMT, Thursday 3rd November 2022|
|How to watch:||BT Sport|
|Odds:||Houston Astros 10/11; Philadelphia Phillies|
The Philadelphia Phillies combined to tie a World Series record of five home runs in game three of the Fall Classic as they easily overcame the Houston Astros and Lance McCullers Jr 7-0, to take a 2-1 lead in the series overall.
All of the five home runs came off starter McCullers, a record for most home runs surrendered by a pitcher in a World Series game.
Familiarity was key in this exchange as McCullers had pitched against the Phillies in the final days of the regular season and gave up one run on six hits. This time though the outcome was different as Philadelphia unloaded from the first inning.
Bryce Harper hit his first World Series home run followed by Alec Bohm and Brandon Marsh in the second inning. Kyle Schwarber and Rhys Hoskins hit home runs in the fifth as the Phillies became the first team in history to hit five home runs in the first five innings of a World Series game.
Harper is hitting .382 this postseason after hitting his sixth home run in the playoffs. The outfielder spoke to the official Phillies' website after the game: "I'm just so focused on winning. I'm not focused on anything else besides that. Just having the opportunity to come in here and grateful for the opportunity to be here. Just grateful to be here with this team and this organisation."
The Phillies have 17 home runs this postseason, third-most in a single postseason all time. They have a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series heading into Game 4 on Wednesday evening.
Houston Astros' pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. had to deny to the waiting press that he was tipping his pitches as the Phillies went home run crazy. The pitcher had a nine-day layoff prior to the game starting, so rustiness may have been key, however McCullers Jr was quick to dismiss any talk of that.
Speaking to the official Houston Astros' website, McCullers said: "I got whupped, end of story. We got beat up pretty bad, and I got beat up pretty bad. I obviously wanted to pitch well, and pitch much better than I did, but at the end of the day, all I can do at this point is get ready to go for a potential game seven.
"This was nothing to do with tipping. Listen, I am who I am. I'm going to throw a lot of off-speed. Everyone knows that."
The Astros will need to win two of the three games to get to game seven. With the Phillies leading 2-1, Houston needs at least one win out of the next two to get the series back to Minute Maid Park.
This is the third straight World Series for the Astros that they have been down 2-1 after game three, and they have lost every series after that in 2019 and 2021.
The benefit of Monday night's washout was that the Phillies could give Ranger Suarez an extra days' rest and he seized the opportunity for five scoreless innings. An extra benefit is that Aaron Nola is allowed to pitch in Game Four rather than Game Five, although he has struggled in his two previous postseason starts.
Nola had an 11-13 regular season record but in the postseason he is 2-1 with a 4.57 ERA and 23 strikeouts. Nola hopes to rebound after struggling in Game one of the series, despite the Phillies winning that game, coming back from five runs down.
Cristian Javier is on the mound for Houston. He had an 11-9 regular season record with a 2.54 ERA. In the postseason he is 1-0 with a 1.35 ERA and seven strikeouts.
Javier will face the Phillies for the first time in his short career to date. He threw three games in relief in last year's World Series, but this will be his first start in the Fall Classic.