PHILADELPHIA — Bryce Harper stood on second base after a go-ahead double and ran his hands over the “Phillies” lettering on his jersey as Citizens Bank Park trembled in ecstasy at a World Series that suddenly seemed so close.
Harper banged his fists on the ground and blurted out a swearing exclamation that was sure to be printed on t-shirts all over Philly:
“This is my (power) house!”
Another win will make it a home game for the World Series.
Rhys Hoskins hit twice, Kyle Schwarber hit a solo shot into the bushes and Harper doubled to give Philadelphia a final lead for a 3-1 lead in the NL Championship Series in a wild 10-6 win over the San Diego Padres on Saturday night .
“I really think our team is set up for October,” Harper said.
Harper — who signed a 13-year, $330 million free agent contract in 2019 — had made Philly both his home and a championship contender, with an afterseason that was already among the greatest in franchise history. He’s scored in nine straight games, hit base in ten straight games, hits .410 in the postseason and has already told his team they won’t lose in the postseason.
“It’s just fun to be a part of this group,” Harper said. “It’s a lot of fun coming to the park every day and knowing that our fans will show up every night.”
JT Realmuto also scored for the hard-hitting Phillies trying to become the first third-place team to reach the Fall Classic.
The Phillies send ace Zack Wheeler up the mound in Sunday’s Game 5 at Citizens Bank Park to try and capture their first National League pennant since 2009. They haven’t won the World Series since 2008.
“Yeah, there’s no better way to spell it,” Hoskins said. “I can’t imagine what tomorrow will be like.”
Prepare the champagne, just in case.
Regardless of the outcome, Game 4 was unforgettable for the Phillies and their fans.
The Phillies trailed 4-0 in the first game and then broke, batted away and eventually sent the Padres away. The clincher came in a four-run fifth inning against reliever Sean Manaea. Trailing 6-4, Schwarber went to the start of the rally. Hoskins then ripped his second homer of the game — not a bat point, but just as dramatic — for the deciding shot. Realmuto left to set the stage for Harper.
The 2021 NL MVP lined the go-ahead double that rolled to the left center wall to take a 7-6 lead as the Philly crowd absolutely exploded. Harper then told fans exactly where he lived — and his house is their home, too.
The Phillies fans refused to sit – and they had no reason to sit out the rest of the game. Nick Castellanos singled at Harper to complete the standings in fifth place.
Schwarber smashed the ball into the bushes in the sixth for his third dead center homer of the series, and Realmuto punctuated the goal with a solo shot in the seventh.
The Phillies 1-5 hitter went 9-for-18 with four homers, three doubles, nine RBI and 10 runs scored.
“You get that one big hit, it gets louder, and that’s when you can really do snowball things,” Hoskins said. “We’re not new to scoring runs in groups, but in the playoffs when things are so much closer and more intense, the crowd is a way to make that snowball happen and we saw it twice tonight.”
The Padres and Phillies had already stuffed nearly nine innings of excitement in 48 minutes of a frenzied first.
Phillies manager Rob Thomson picked Bailey Falter to start Game 4 after a 17-day hiatus, hoping the left could go through the order at least once. There wasn’t much he could do except pull back the first two balls. Manny Machado rocked a homer to the left and answered chants of “Manny Sucks!” by putting his right hand to his ear as he circled the bases.
Falter let the next two runners reach and Brandon Drury lined a two-RBI double off the right field wall for a 3-0 lead. That’s it for Falter. Reliever Connor Brogdon allowed Ha-Seong Kim an RBI single to make it 4-0.
Bad performance for Falter? Absolutely.
The worst for a starting pitcher? nope
Mike Clevinger allowed a leadoff single at the end of the first and then Hoskins’ first homer of the game, cutting the lead to 4-2. He went Realmuto and Harper hit an RBI double to make it 4-3. Standing in second place, Harper ran his hands over the “Phillies” on his jersey as the crowd and Citizens Bank Park began to tremble.
So much for Clevinger, out of the game without recording an out.
By the time batter No. 5, Castellanos, batted, there had been a total of four pitchers and three outs. The combined totals from the first inning saw seven runs, seven hits, two home runs, two doubles – oh, and the fun was just getting started.
Nick Martinez, the Brogdon and Padres replicator, actually stabilized the game as they retired 16 straight after 5 1/3 shutout innings.
“I wouldn’t bet against us. I have a lot of faith in my guys,” said Martinez. “We won’t give up. We’ll keep going.”
That was the lonely stretch of normality in this one. Not even the red rally towels, frantically waved by another sell-out crowd of 45,467, got as much practice as both bullpens.
Bryson Stott lined an opposing single to the left in the fourth that tied the game to 4 and breathed new life into the Phillies.
Well, at least for a few pitches.
Because the much-maligned Brad Hand, the game’s fourth pitcher, coughed up the lead in the fifth. He issued a one-out walk, and then Juan Soto lined a two-run homer to the right, his first of the postseason and first since October 1 against the White Sox.
It was 6-4 Padres.
And it was the beginning of the end.
“We only have to win one to go home,” said manager Bob Melvin.
Wheeler meets Padres RHP Yu Darvish (2-1, 2.84 ERA in the postseason).