Bryce Harper hit a decisive homer in the eighth inning as the Philadelphia Phillies advanced to the World Series with a 4-3 win over San Diego on Sunday.
The Phillies beat the Padres 4-1 in a best-of-seven-inning National League Championship Series to reach the MLB championship finals for the first time in 13 years.
“We’re going to celebrate,” said Reece Hoskins, who hit four home runs for the Phillies in the series. “So much hard work has been done. Fantastic. It’s been a long time.
“We still have work to do, but the National League title is wonderful.”
The Phillies, for the first time since 2011, are in the playoffs & the first time in the World Series since 2009. They haven’t won a Major League Baseball championship since 2008.
“We’ve always believed,” Harper said. “No emotion doesn’t happen. We don’t get the chance to be here. “We’ve got four games [to win the championship]. Let’s go get it.”
The Phillies opened MLB’s best-of-seven innings on the road last Friday.
The Houston Astros can sweep the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series with a win in New York later on Sunday.
The Astros, seeking a fourth World Series in six seasons, won in 2017 but lost in 2019 and last year.
It was a dramatic end for the Phillies, who trailed 3-2, only for Harper to deliver the game-winner from a fastball from Padres relief pitcher Robert Suarez in the eighth inning.
“I’ve seen it get better as I hit the ball longer,” Harper said. “He beat me with the heater in San Diego, so I just wanted to stay on that court.
“I knew he’d come with his heater. It’s his best golf course. I try to get the best swing I can, and I can do damage with it. I’m excited to be back in the dugout and see my teammate.”
Harper became the first Philly player in 41 years to hit a go-ahead home run in a playoff game.
“We called him a performer. He always had a knack for those moments,” Hoskins said. “He’s had his entire career. I don’t think anyone in the dugout will be surprised. What a swing. What a hitter. What a player.”
The Padres haven’t made it to the World Series since being swept by the Yankees in 1998.
San Diego’s starting pitcher Yu Darvish, a 36-year-old Japanese right-hander, and Philadelphia’s Zack Wheeler, a 32-year-old American right-hander, suffered light rain in the early innings.
Darvish hit five hits and spread four hits in six innings for the Padres.
Hoskins hit his fifth homer of the playoffs and two runs on Darwish’s third to give the Phillies a 2-0 lead.
Juan Soto responded with a solo homer in the fifth inning for the Padres.
The singles opened the seventh and sent Wheeler to the shower after San Diego’s Jack Cronanworth had eight runs and just three hits in the seventh.
The Phillies brought in reliever Seranthony Dominguez, whose wild pitch gave Cronenworth a second base, and Josh Bell followed with a double on the wall to put Cronenworth in a tie.
Dominguez then sent two wild pitches to Trent Grisham, allowing pinching runner Jose Azocar to score as San Diego made it 3-2 for the lead.
Philadelphia’s J.T. Realmuto singled up to set up Harper’s dramatic explosion. Still, the Padres put two runners in position in the ninth, allowing only Phillies reliever Ranger Suarez to get in and get the final two outs to secure the victory.
“This is the most resilient club I’ve ever seen,” said Phillies manager Rob Thomson.