Phillies vs. Padres score: Bryce Harper sends Philly to first World Series since 2009 with game-winning homer

The San Diego Padres tried to ruin the party in Philadelphia in Game 5 by coming from behind and leading 3-2 en route to the bottom of the eighth. And then Bryce Freaking Harper happened. The Phillies won Game 5, 4-3, and they take the series four games to one. They have won the NL pennant and are going to the World Series for the first time since 2009.

Let’s see how Game 5 unfolded.

Harper stays warm, gets through with clutch HR

Bryce Harper has had a big hot streak pretty much the entire playoffs. He got no hit in Game 1 of the Wild Card Series, but he walked and scored in their comeback in the ninth inning. He homered in his first at bat of Game 2 and it was, as they say, over. Starting with Game 2 of the first round, Harper has at least one hit in every game. He hit .444 with a .944 slugging percentage in his previous nine games before Game 5 on Sunday. He singled in his first at bat, bringing his playoff hit streak to 10 games. That ties Lenny Dykstra (1993, of course) for the franchise record (via Sarah Langs).

Oh, and Harper hit the biggest home run of his life in the bottom of the eighth. The Phillies trailed 3-2 to start the inning. JT Realmuto singled and then Harper came to bat against Padres line-up Robert Suarez. It was a struggle. He made an error on two pitches with two strikes. And then, on a 2-2 count…

So the Phillies were back on top. It’s worth noting that Harper makes every penny of his gargantuan contract.

Hoskins is hot too

Rhys Hoskins hit a three-run homerun in Game 3 of the NLDS and that was what really put things in the direction of the Phillies in that series for good. He hit a two-run shot in the first inning of Game 4 of the NLCS on Saturday-evening to take the early lead for the Padres. Later in Game 4, he hit a two-run home run to tie the game.

On Sunday, he started scoring with another two-run homerun:

He now has eight basehits in the playoffs, five of which were homeruns. He drove home 11 runs. The festive skipping of the first baseline is also worth bonus points. Well done, Rhys.

Soto homert, might get hot

The party was in Philly after the Hoskins homerun, but Juan Soto hit a solo shot to make the Phillies sweat in the top of the fourth. It got the Padres on the board and forced the Phillies to operate with just a one-point lead and no cushion or margin of error. That was important in the end and we’ll get to it in a moment.

Here’s Soto’s bomb:

Soto also homered in Game 4. This was the first time he went deep in back-to-back games since he homered in both ends of a doubleheader for the Nationals on July 13. It was the first time he homered on consecutive days since July 8-9.

Wheeler the dealer

Zack Wheeler won in Game 1 of this series after playing seven scoreless innings and giving up only one hit. He wasn’t so dominant this time. He hit six innings and gave up two runs on three hits while striking out eight. He didn’t spend a single walk. That is, while he was better in Game 1, this was another great performance.

He has now started four games in the postseason, throwing to a 1.78 ERA and 0.51 WHIP with 25 strikeouts and three walks in 25 1/3 innings.

He did face one batter in the seventh inning and gave up a single. And then it got really interesting…

Seranthony is going wild

Phillies reliever Seranthony Domínguez was great this postseason, completing a save of six in Game 3. He came in this one and had no command at all. He entered the game with a runner on first base and the Phillies led 2-1 in the seventh inning. He threw a wild pitch that moved the runner to second base, then gave up a Josh Bell double that tied the game. He then threw a wild pitch to advance pinch runner Jose Azocar to third base. He then threw a wild pitch to score Azocar and the Padres led 3-2.

Domínguez had only three wild pitches in 51 innings throughout the regular season. He hadn’t pitched one in the playoffs in his 6 2/3 innings work. He threw three in the seventh inning in Game 5.

As the saying goes, every time you watch a baseball game, you have the chance to see something you’ve never seen before. Domínguez made it happen in this one.

Darvish again with bad luck

Yu Darvish gave up only two runs in seven innings of work in Game 1, as he was tagged with solo homeruns by Bryce Harper and Kyle Schwarber. He was the unlucky loser and it looked like a similar result in Game 5 was on the horizon.

This time it was a two-run Hoskins homerun and that was it. He gave up two runs on four hits in six innings. Thanks to the late comeback, he appeared to be lining up for the well-deserved win. Considering how much the bullpen had to be emptied in Game 4, you can’t praise Darvish enough for his work in this one. The Padres season was on the line and he delivered.

And then the Harper homer happened. Darvish is left with a 0-1 record in this series despite throwing like an ace.

Suarez closes business

The Phillies went for the ninth to David Robertson with a one-run lead, but he walked two in a row with one out. Next, Phillies skipper Rob Thomson turned to his number 3 starter, Ranger Suárez, to get the last two outs.

Suárez was a reliever for a big league-level starter. He was actually the closer last season for a very short period, making four saves.

The first batter Suárez faced was Trent Grisham, who put down a bunt. He must punch for a hit or he made a mistake and thought there were no outs. Anyway, the Phillies just took the out when Suárez threw to first. Austin Nola was the Padres’ last hope and he went out softly for the last out.

Phillies manager Rob Thomson makes history

Remember, the Phillies were May 21 to 29. They won on June 1, but then fired manager Joe Girardi. Rob Thomson took over and they went 65-46 under him, a season pace of 95 wins. They are also now 9-2 in the playoffs.

Thomson is only the third manager in baseball history to take over mid-season and win the pennant. He joins Jack McKeon of the 2003 Marlins and Bob Lemon of the 1978 Yankees. McKeon and Lemon have both won the World Series, so Thomson wants to follow in their footsteps.

What’s next

For the Padres, they head home for a big outdoor season. They get Fernando Tatis Jr. back early next season and it will be interesting to see how that unfolds. They will most likely be a strong contender again. We’ll go into more detail about it elsewhere.

More important right now is the National League champion Philadelphia Phillies. This is their eighth pennant, along with 1915, 1950, 1980, 1983, 1993, 2008 and 2009. They will be heading out for Games 1 and 2 of the World Series, likely to Houston to face an Astros team that to lose this postseason. The Phillies will be tough underdogs, but they were underdogs against the Cardinals, Braves and Padres and here they are.

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