PHILADELPHIA – Phenomenal and Phantastic.
Bryce Harper’s two-run, opposite-field homer in the eighth inning put the Philadelphia Phillies into the World Series on Sunday. Philadelphia continued its improbable postseason march, rallying past the San Diego Padres 4-3 in Game 5 to win the National League Championship Series.
It is the eighth NL pennant in franchise history and sends Philadelphia to the World Series for the first time since 2009.
Philadelphia’s victory at rainy, muddy Citizens Bank Park gave the Phillies a 4-1 series victory and completed a run through the NL playoffs. The Phillies swept the St. Louis Cardinals in two games in the Wild Card series, then dispatched the Atlanta Braves, the defending World Series champions, in four games.
In the World Series, the Phillies will face the Houston Astros, who defeated the New York Yankees 6-5 to sweep the American League Championship Series. Game 1 is Friday in Houston.
Harper battled San Diego reliever Roberto Suarez in a seven-pitch at-bat, fouling off three pitches before hitting a 1-2 pitch into the left-field stands to help the Phillies regain the lead.
San Diego threatened in the top of the ninth, putting runners on first and second, but reliever Ranger Suarez retired Trent Grisham on a sacrifice bunt and got Aaron Nola to fly out to Nick Castellanos in right field for the final out, punching Philadelphia’s ticket to the Fall Classic.
The Phillies had taken a 2-0 lead in the third inning when first baseman Rhys Hoskins connected for a two-run homer off San Diego starter Yu Darvish.
The Padres got a run back in the top of the fourth when Juan Soto hit a solo home run off Philadelphia starter Zack Wheeler.
Wheeler pitched into the seventh inning, allowing two runs and striking out eight. But after allowing a leadoff single to Jake Cronenworth, Wheeler was relieved by Seranthony Dominguez.
The Phillies’ reliever then threw a wild pitch and allowed a game-tying double to Josh Bell, who scored on Dominguez’s third wild pitch of the inning to give the Padres a 3-2 lead.
That set the stage for Harper’s fifth home run of the postseason.
The Phillies finished the regular season with an 87-75 record, but knocked off the NL Central champion Cardinals and then topped the NL East champion Braves, who won 101 games.
Philadelphia has won a pair of World Series titles, defeating the Kansas City Royals in 1980 and the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008. The franchise lost to the Boston Red Sox in the 1915 World Series, the New York Yankees in 1950 and 2009, the Baltimore Orioles in 1983 and the Toronto Blue Jays in 1993.
This year was the 10th time the Phillies have reached the NLCS since baseball expanded its postseason in 1969.
San Diego was playing in its third NLCS and was attempting to reach the World Series for the first time since 1998. The Padres lost to the Yankees that year in four games.
In the franchise’s first World Series appearance, San Diego was beaten in five games by the Detroit Tigers in 1984.
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