In a game crying out for some action, Kyle Schwarber delivered, with a monstrous 488-foot solo home run at the top of the sixth that sealed a 2-0 win for the Philadelphia Phillies over the San Diego Padres in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series.
The smash, which flew off Schwarber’s bat at 119.7 mph, was the hardest-hit homer in recorded MLB postseason history according to Statcast.
It was an astonishing hit that left teammate Bryce Harper, who hit his own solo shot at the top of the fourth to put the Phillies ahead, gobsmacked and impressed everyone in attendance at Petco Park in San Diego – except, maybe, Schwarber himself.
“Well, first off, I would have taken it if it went in the first row,” Schwarber said after the game.
“I really don’t care – a point is a point. It doesn’t feel like anything, I guess. That’s probably the good thing, is that your hands don’t hurt at the end of it. To be able to put up a run there and extend the lead, it was nice.”
Whether or not Schwarber admits it, it was a stunning swing. It was the fifth-hardest hit home run in the MLB since 2008 and the hardest in Phillies history since records began. The 488-foot distance leaves the home run as the biggest hit Petco Park has ever witnessed.
It was also a timely hit for the left-fielder who, after a brilliant regular season, has struggled in the postseason so far.
The nine-year veteran hit a career-high 46 home runs during the regular season, only coming behind Aaron Judge’s historic 62. But in the postseason, Schwarber has not found the same form: he had been 2-for-21 with eight strikeouts prior to Tuesday night’s game.
At the top of the sixth, Schwarber lined up against Padres ace Yu Darvish, who had only allowed three hits in seven innings, striking out seven. Darvish’s pitch though – a 87-mph cutter – was blasted by Schwarber to right field, hitting an upper deck.
After the game, Darvish joked of his former Cubs teammate: “Schwarb, he’s a friend of mine. Every time we meet, we greet each other and all that, but next time I meet him, I might have to punch him.”
Phillies outfielder Matt Vierling was astounded, saying, “When it happened, I kept trying to think about how I would describe it. I’ve just never seen anything like that. It’s hard, though, because it happened so quick; 120 miles an hour doesn’t give you much time to think.”
Schwarber wasn’t the only star of the night for the Phillies; starting pitcher Zack Wheeler threw a great game for the team with eight strikeouts and one hit on the night in a game that was quite very dull.
The victory leaves the Phiilies 1-0 up in the series ahead of Game 2 in San Diego on Wednesday.