Phillies vs.  Padres score, takeaways: Bryce Harper's homer sends Philly to first World Series since 2009

Phillies vs. Padres score, takeaways: Bryce Harper’s homer sends Philly to first World Series since 2009

The Philadelphia Phillies are heading to the World Series for the first time since 2009. The San Diego Padres tried to ruin the party in Philadelphia in Game 5, coming from behind to lead heading to the bottom of the eighth. And then Bryce Harper happened. The Phillies won Game 5, 4-3, on Harper’s two-run homer and they took the series, 4-1. They won the NL pennant for the first time in 13 years and will face either the Houston Astros or the New York Yankees in the World Series.

Let’s take a look at how Game 5 unfolded.

Harper stays hot, comes through with clutch HR

Bryce Harper has been on a major hot streak pretty much throughout the playoffs. He didn’t get a hit in Game 1 of the Wild Card Series, but he drew a walk and scored in their ninth-inning comeback. He homered in his first at-bat of Game 2 and it was, as they say, on. Starting with Game 2 of the first round, Harper has at least one hit in every single game. He was hitting .444 with a .944 slugging percentage in his previous nine games before Game 5 on Sunday. He singled in his first at-bat, moving his playoff hitting streak to 10 games. That ties Lenny Dykstra (1993) for the franchise record (via Sarah Langs).

Oh, and Harper hit the biggest home run of his life in the bottom of the eighth inning. The Phillies were trailing 3-2 to start the inning. JT Realmuto singled and then Harper came to bat against Padres setup man Robert Suarez. It was a battle. He fouled off two pitches with two strikes. And then, we have 2-2 count…

Just like that, the Phillies were back on top. It bears mention that Harper is earning every penny of his $330 million contract.

Hoskins went yard (again)

Rhys Hoskins hit a three-run home run in Game 3 of the NLDS and that was what really, firmly swung things in the Phillies’ direction for good in that series. He hit a two-run shot in the first inning of Game 4 of the NLCS Saturday night, carving into the Padres’ early lead. Later in Game 4, he hit a two-run homer to tie the game.

Sunday, he got the scoring started with another two-run home run:

He now has eight hits in the playoffs and five of them have been home runs. He’s driven home 11 runs. The celebratory skipping down the first-base line is also worth bonus points. Well done, Rhys.

Soto heats up…just a bit too late

The party was on in Philly after the Hoskins homer, 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-run lead and no cushion or margin for error. That ended up mattering and we’ll get there in a second.

Here’s the Soto bomb:

Soto also homered in Game 4. This was the first time he went deep in back-to-back games since clubbing homers 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 got the win in Game 1 of this series after going seven scoreless innings and only allowing one hit. He wasn’t quite as dominating this time around. He went six innings and gave up two runs on three hits while striking out eight. He didn’t issue a single walk. That is to say, even though he was better in Game 1, this was another stellar performance.

He now has started four games in the postseason and has pitched 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 allowed a single. And that’s when things got really interesting…

Seranthony gets wild in the rain

Phillies reliever Seranthony Domínguez has been great this postseason and closed down a six-out save in Game 3. He came in to this one and didn’t have any command at all. He entered the game with a runner on first and the Phillies leading, 2-1, in the seventh inning during the hardest rain of the afternoon in South Philly. He threw a wild pitch that advanced the runner to second and then gave up a Josh Bell double that tied the game. Then he threw a wild pitch to advance pinch runner Jose Azocar to third. Then he threw another wild pitch to score Azocar and the Padres had a 3-2 lead.

Domínguez had just three wild pitches all regular season in 51 innings. He hadn’t yet thrown one in the playoffs in his 6 2/3 innings of work. He threw three in the seventh inning in Game 5.

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

Darvish with tough luck again

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

This time it was a two-run Hoskins homer and that was it. He gave up two runs on four hits in six innings. Thanks to the late comeback, he looked like he was in line for the well-earned victory. Given the way the bullpen had to be mostly emptied out in Game 4, you can’t give Darvish enough credit for his work in this one. The Padres season was on the line and he delivered.

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

Suarez closes things down

The Phillies went to David Robertson for the ninth with a one-run lead, but he walked two straight batters with one out. Then Phillies skipper Rob Thomson turned to his No. 3 starter, Ranger Suárez, to get the final two outs.

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

The first hitter Suárez faced was Trent Grisham, and he laid down a bunt. He must’ve been bunting for a hit or he was mistaken and thought there were no outs. Regardless, the Phillies just took the out as Suarez threw to first. Austin Nola was the Padres’ final hope, and he lined out softly for the final out with the go-ahead run left stranded in scoring position.

Phillies manager Rob Thomson makes history

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

Thomson is just the fourth manager in the LCS era to take over in the middle of a season and win the pennant. He joins Jack McKeon of the 2003 Marlins, Paul Owens of the 1983 Phillies and Bob Lemon of the 1978 Yankees. McKeon and Lemon both won the World Series, so Thomson is looking to follow in their footsteps.

What’s next

For the Padres, they’ll head home for a big offseason. They’ll get Fernando Tatis, Jr. back early next season and it’ll be interesting to see how that unfolds. They’ll be a strong contender again, in all likelihood.

More importantly right now is the National League champion Philadelphia Phillies. This is their eighth pennant, joining 1915, 1950, 1980, 1983, 1993, 2008 and 2009. They’ll head out on the road for Games 1 and 2 of the World Series, probably to Houston to face an Astros team that has yet to lose this postseason. The Phillies will be heavy underdogs, but they were underdogs against the Cardinals, Braves and Padres and here they are.

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