Philadelphia had waited 4,746 days to host a World Series game and it was forced to wait another day when Monday night’s game was postponed due to rain.
But its patience was rewarded on Tuesday as the Philadelphia Phillies took a 2-1 lead in the World Series, using the long ball to power their way to a 7-0 win against the Houston Astros in Game 3.
All those thousands of days of anticipation were unleashed in a beer-soaked Citizens Bank Park afterwards as the 45,712-crowd waved red scarves and cheered its team off the field, who are now 6-0 at home this postseason.
“It’s our fan base. Plain and simple,” Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper told reporters after the game. “They keep us going. Keep us fired up. We were able to come out on the field today. They were all here ready to go and they believe in us and we believe in them. So it’s been great.”
Before the series began, the Phillies had been billed as the plucky underdogs after entering the National League playoffs as the lowest seed of the six teams while the Astros went undefeated in the playoffs as the No.1 seed, sweeping the Seattle Mariners and the New York Yankees.
But it was the Phillies who proved the more dominant of the two sides on Tuesday, hitting five home runs off Astros starter Lance McCullers Jr., who was pulled in the fifth inning, accounting for all seven runs.
McCullers Jr.’s five home runs were the most allowed in a game by a single player in postseason history.
“It was kind of mind-boggling because he doesn’t give up homers,” Astros coach Dusty Baker said afterwards.
“He usually keeps the ball in the ballpark. He wasn’t satisfied with it. We were very surprised by it.
“When it’s 4-0 in this ballpark, you don’t want to go through your whole pitching staff because 4-0 in this ballpark is really nothing the way the ball flies here. So what can I say? The line score looks bad, but they were just hitting us.”
With their five home runs, the Phillies set a club record for a postseason game, tied the record for a World Series game, and became the first team in World Series history to score five home runs in the first five innings.
They also pitched a World Series shutout for just the second time in franchise history, and the first since 1993, as starter Ranger Suarez threw five shutout innings, giving up only three hits and a walk.
Harper opened the Phillies’ account in the bottom of the first when he hit a 402ft two-run shot through the right centerfield on the first pitch he saw, for his sixth home run of the postseason.
Then, Alec Bohm, who hit the 1,000th home run in World Series history, and Brandon Marsh added their own homers in the second to give the Phillies a 4-0 lead.
Two more homers in the fifth from Kyle Schwarber – a 443ft two-run shot through center field – and Rhys Hoskins completed the Phillies’ historic innings.
Game 4 of the best-of-seven series is Wednesday night in Philadelphia.