Written by DAN GELSTON

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Bryce Harper hit a home run in the first game of the World Series he saw in Philadelphia, then figured out how the Phillies could hit a few more.

The $330 million star gave Alec Bohm some quiet advice — and then it got really loud in Philadelphia.

As for those whispers in May that the Phillies were done? Forget about them. The secret has long been out: these Phillies are real.

They are now two wins short of their first World Series championship since 2008.

Harper hit his sixth home run of the postseason, whistling a walk to Bohm before his solo shot, and the Phillies set a World Series record with five homers in a 7-0 rout of the Houston Astros on Tuesday night to take a 2-1 series lead.

Brandon Marsh also homered and Kyle Schwarber and Rhys Hoskins had back-to-back hits in the fifth inning to chase Astros starter Lance McCullers Jr. Philadelphia used the long ball to end its long wait for its first World Series home win since Game 5. 2009 World Series.

These Phillies couldn’t finish the job.

Ranger Suarez threw a three-hit ball over five innings and brought this year’s team closer to that goal.

Harper, Bohm, Marsh and the rest of the last-place Phillies are two wins away from finishing the season in last place. With a sparkling 6-0 record at Citizens Bank Park entering this postseason, the Phillies may not return to Texas.

“I think having us back home is such a boost for us, just because of the fan base we have,” Harper said. “This whole city is really excited to be in this moment and we’re just excited to play in front of them and have this opportunity.”

Another red, raucous, determined crowd of 45,712 let the Astros get it from the first inning with chants of “Cheater! Scammer!” for Jose Altuve and “Check the Bat! Check Bat!’ for Martin Maldonado.

The fans – already pumped up after another catch by right fielder Nick Castellanos in the first – didn’t have to wait long to go wild for the home run.

With leadoff hitter Schwarber at first base, Harper repeated his playoff power flair when he ripped a two-out hit from McCullers into the right field seats for a quick lead. That made Harper 2-for-2 with a home run in Philly, sending the Phillies to the World Series with a two-run home run in Game 5 of the NL Championship Series to beat San Diego.

Harper crossed the plate and exclaimed again, “This is my house!” before he ripped off his helmet, exposed his Phillie Phanatic headband and was subjected to a mob of teammates in the dugout.

Harper’s homers would shake a stadium to the point they should be measured on the Richter scale rather than feet — and today they seem as automatic as a Philly Fanatic’s spin on his quad. Harper hit four postseason homers to give the Phillies the lead and show that, yes, the Bryce Bombs do explode in November, the first time more World Series games will be played this month than in October.

Oh, and Harper might have a second career as a Homer whisperer.

Harper called Bohm from the on-deck circle and returned to the dugout to give a quick word of advice.

Maybe Harper saw McCullers overturning his innings?

“I think any time you have information, you want to be able to give it to your teammates at any time,” Harper said. “Every time I can help my teammates, throughout the season, we’ve done that.”

Whatever the quiet counseling was, it worked, and Bohm belted his first postseason homer, leading off the second inning and the 1,000th in World Series history, to left field for a 3-0 lead.

So come on, Alec, admit what Bryce told you?

“It’s between us,” Bohm said with a shrug and a big smile.

Marsh took the baton with the long ball and hit a single to right field that the Delaware youngster released. The home run stuck around after a brief review — nothing seems to stop Philadelphia from making the playoffs — and the score was 4-0.

In doing so, McCullers allowed four homers in his first nine at-bats. The right-hander, who got his left tricep inked toward Houston, absolutely got a Phillies tattoo.

“It was amazing because he doesn’t give up homers,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “He usually keeps the ball on the court. It did not satisfy him. We were very surprised by this.”

Schwarber, the Nederlands’ home run champion, again blasted a two-run shot into the thicket of English ivy, thuja and holly beyond center field, and Hoskins connected on a solo shot for a 7-0 lead that ended McCullers’ night.

McCullers became the first pitcher to give up five home runs in a World Series game.

“I don’t really get hit like that, so I was a little bit in disbelief,” McCullers said.

Suarez, the scheduled starter in Game 4 before Game 3 was pushed back a day because of rain, delivered a career-high and shut out the big hitters in the AL champs’ lineup.

He needed just two pitches to get the first two outs of the game and struck out Jordan Alvarez to end the first. The few jams he got into, Suarez worked his way through, most notably in the second when he struck out Ches McCormick and stranded two runners. He walked Altuve to end the fifth on a soft foul with two runners on base.

“He’s just a guy with no heartbeat,” catcher Jay T. Realmuta said. “It looks like he’s playing a child’s game.”

Suarez saved the Phillies from having to use ace relievers Jose Alvarado and Serantani Dominguez as each of the four relievers pitched scoreless innings to complete the five.

“This is a really good Houston team,” Harper said. “They’ve been here, they’ve been in every situation before, and to be able to come here and win the first game here was huge for us.”


Philly sluggers Mike Schmidt, Julius Erving, Brandon Graham and Bernie Parent threw out the first pitches to 2008 World Series champions Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels, Jason Werth and Shane Victorino. Country music star Tim McGraw, son of the late Phyllis Tug McGraw, received a standing ovation and donned his father’s No. 45 McGraw jersey. McGraw closed out the 1980 World Series with a strikeout.


The Phillies are sending RHP Aaron Nola (2-1, 4.57 ERA in the postseason) to the mound against Houston RHP Christian Javier (1-0, 1.35 ERA) in Game 4. Nola was shut out after 4 1/3 innings in Game 1 of the World Series, though he retired the last six batters he faced and retired the tying run after the Phillies rallied from an early 5-0 deficit to win 6-5. Philadelphia plans to use RHP Noah Syndergaard in Game 5.


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