PHILADELPHIA -- Bryce Harper did not react. He watched.
It’s everybody else at Citizens Bank Park who lost their flippin’ minds.
Harper ripped a two-run home run to right field in the first inning Tuesday night in a 7-0 victory over the Astros in Game 3 of the World Series. Harper’s blast kick-started a five-homer barrage, tying a record for the most homers in a World Series game. It ratcheted up another raucous night at the Bank, which has been absolutely electric since this unexpected and wildly fun postseason run began.
“Just walking into the ballpark, just being back home, I think is such a momentum swing for us,” Harper said. “This whole city is so excited to be in this moment and we're just thrilled to be able to play in front of them.”
Phillies fans had imagined what their first home World Series game since 2009 might be like ever since Harper hit a game-winning, two-run homer in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series on Oct. 23. But what happened Tuesday exceeded everybody’s expectations.
Harper hit a first-pitch curveball from Lance McCullers Jr. for a two-out, two-run homer in the first inning to make it 2-0. Harper’s last pitch at Citizens Bank Park? That NLCS-clinching homer in Game 5.
Two homers, two pitches.
“He’s a showman, there’s no doubt about that,” J.T. Realmuto said.
It was Harper’s sixth homer of the postseason, which is second in Phillies history only to Jayson Werth (2009). Rhys Hoskins (2022), Chase Utley (2009) and Lenny Dykstra (1993) also hit six. It was Harper’s fourth go-ahead homer of the postseason, which is tied for second in postseason history. He trails only Albert Pujols, who hit five in 2004.
Alec Bohm started the second inning. Before he hit, Harper called him back to the dugout for a quick conversation. Bohm listened. He nodded. He walked to the plate, and smacked a first-pitch sinker for a solo homer to make it 3-0, amplifying talk that McCullers might have been tipping pitches. McCullers said he wasn't. The Phillies said he wasn't. But they knew his tendencies.
What in the world did Harper say?
“Nothing,” Bohm said, smiling.
Did it help?
“Maybe,” Bohm said.
“Any time you have information you want to give that to your teammates,” Harper said.
Hoskins said those conversations happen all the time. Players discuss the shape of a pitch, what it does, how it looks to the eye, right-handed vs. left-handed, etc. It just so happened that TV cameras caught Harper’s and Bohm’s conversation during a World Series game.
And then Bohm homered.
“I don’t know what Bryce told Bohmer,” Hoskins said. “Obviously it worked. I’m going to tell him to tell that more.”
Two batters later, Brandon Marsh hit a two-out homer into the first row in right field to make it 4-0.
Afterward, a group of Japanese reporters huddled around Marsh. He has become a fan favorite because of his time with Shohei Ohtani with the Angels -- and Marsh's long beard. Told that Ohtani could be watching this interview in Japan, Marsh said, “Well, he would have hit that one like 400 more feet. He’d probably tell me to do better.”
Kyle Schwarber crushed a two-run homer off the batter’s eye in center field in the fifth to make it 6-0. Hoskins followed with a solo homer to left. It was the Phillies’ fifth home run, which tied a World Series record, joining the 2017 Astros (Game 5 vs. Dodgers), 1989 A’s (Game 3 vs. Giants) and 1928 Yankees (Game 4 vs. Cardinals).
“It’s a cool way to win a game, right?” Schwarber said. “We’re hitting homers and driving in runs. I felt like we’ve done a good job throughout the postseason of not being reliant on the home run. We’ve put together innings, good two-strike, two-out hitting. I think this is probably the first game throughout the whole postseason we’ve been like this.”
Everybody seemed to have a favorite homer Tuesday.
“Bohm’s was cool, line drive,” Bryson Stott said. “But Schwarber’s, though. He keeps taking it. Rhys’ was cool, too. But Schwarber’s was into the trees.”
What about Harper’s?
“Bryce’s was also cool, but the trees,” Stott said. “Marsh’s was also cool. The tree-ball, though.”
Hoskins asked Schwarber afterward if that was the hardest ball he ever hit. The homer left his bat at 113.2 mph and traveled a projected 443 feet. He crushed it but didn’t kill it. Schwarber crushed a homer into the second deck in right field in Game 2 of the NLCS at Petco Park. That ball left his bat at 119.7 mph and traveled 488 feet.
Hoskins forgot that one.
“It’s easy because there’s been a lot of them,” Hoskins said.
The Phillies made history in Game 3. Nobody will forget that.