Houston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers Jr was short on answers after the Philadelphia Phillies tied the World Series record of five home runs in Tuesday's 7-0 rout.

McCullers was on the mound for all five homers as the Phillies claimed a 2-1 World Series lead at a rowdy Citizens Bank Park. He became the first pitcher in postseason history to allow five home runs in a game.

The Astros starter gave up a walk and three homers in the first two innings, but rallied to retire seven batters until blasts from Kyle Schwarber and Rhys Hoskins saw him pulled with the Phillies in an unassailable position in the fifth inning.

"I got beat, man," McCullers told reporters. "They hit a lot of solid pitches, I thought.

"At the end of the day, we got beat pretty bad, and I got beat up pretty bad."

The five homers came four types of pitches, with two sliders, a change-up, a curveball and a sinker, but nothing worked for McCullers.

"Listen, I am who I am," McCullers said. "I'm going to throw a lot of off-speed. Everyone knows that."

The Phillies had come up against McCullers late in the regular season, when he gave up six hits but only one earned run, yet they seemed to know what was coming this time.

"He's a guy that we saw at the end of the year in Houston," Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto said. "Got to see his pitches then. He just left pitches in the middle of the plate today."

Bryce Harper, who delivered a two-run blast in the first inning, added: "We talked about it before the game, just trying to get on him early, trying to get on him often."

Seven-time All-Star Harper, who is a two-time NL MVP, along with Rhys Hoskins have six homers this postseason which is the second most in franchise history. Harper is also hitting at .382 this postseason.

"I'm just so focused on winning," Harper said. "I'm not focused on anything else besides that. Just having the opportunity to come in here and grateful for the opportunity to be here. Just grateful to be here with this team and this organisation. I'm not really worried about anything else."

The Phillies are 6-0 at home this postseason cheered on by their boisterous fans, having blasted 17 homers in those games too, with Game 4 at Citizens Bank Park to come on Wednesday.

"Just walking into the ballpark, just being back home, I think is such a momentum swing for us," Harper said. "We all come in here and we're ready to go and we're excited to get on the field, because we know they're going to show up and there's going to be 46,000 people here screaming and yelling and going crazy."

The Philadelphia Phillies blasted five home runs to open up a 2-1 lead in the World Series after winning Game 3 over the Houston Astros 7-0 on Tuesday.

The victory maintains the Phillies' perfect home postseason record, claiming six wins from six games at Citizens Bank Park ahead of Game 4 at the same venue. Philadelphia have also blasted 17 home runs in those six home games.

Bryce Harper, Alec Bohm, Brandon Marsh, Kyle Schwarber and Rhys Hoskins all slugged homers. Harper and Hoskins' blasts took them to six each this postseason, which is tied for the second-most in franchise history, behind only Jayson Werth with seven from 2009.

All seven runs came off Astros starter Lance McCullers Jr, who pitched four-and-one-third innings, allowing six hits and one walk with six strikeouts.

The Phillies were dominant throughout, with a brilliant Nick Castellanos' play from a sinking Jose Altuve line drive in the first inning, followed by Harper's two-run blast after Schwarber's leadoff walk.

In the second inning, Bohm blasted just above the left-field wall, followed by Marsh's solo shot to open up a 4-0 lead.

McCullers had retired seven straight batters Schwarber added a two-run center-field blast into the trees, which travelled 443 feet, in the fifth inning, with Hoskins homering shortly after too.

Phillies starter Ranger Suarez went five innings for four strikeouts, allowing three hits, no earned runs and one walk. Nick Nelson got out of a jam in the eighth after two walks, before Andrew Bellatti closed out the win.

The Game 3 winner when the series was tied has gone on to win 41 of the last 59 World Series.

Game 3 of the World Series between the Philadelphia Phillies and Houston Astros has been pushed back a day as inclement weather prevented play from starting on Monday.

It means the entire series will also be adjusted to allow for the scheduled off-day to remain, with Game 4 now scheduled for Wednesday, Game 5 on Thursday, and a day off on Friday.

If Game 6 and Game 7 are required, they will be contested back in Houston on Saturday and Sunday after Philadelphia hosts Game 3, Game 4 and Game 5.

The series is currently tied at 1-1 after the Phillies won the opener in a thrilling comeback, before Houston levelled things with a convincing Game 2 victory.

The Houston Astros levelled up the World Series with Saturday's 5-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies, but Jose Altuve's breakout performance may be the joker in the pack they need.

Altuve had a three-hit game, starting with a lead-off double as the Astros piled on three first-inning runs at Minute Maid Park to square the series after blowing a 5-0 lead in Game 1 on Friday, losing 6-5.

The second baseman is second on all-time postseason home runs list (23), but has struggled this postseason, averaging .171 with only seven hits from 41 at-bats, no RBIs and no home runs.

Altuve had been mired in a none-for-25 slump earlier in the postseason but has simplified his approach with Astros manager Dusty Baker sticking with him.

"If I say it every day, he's gotta have one of these days," Baker told reporters. "It's just how I feel about Altuve.

"His track record speaks for itself. He swung the bat great today. It's a good feeling to get him to lead off like he's been doing all year in the first inning. Boy it was great to see."

Alex Bregman added a two-run home run in the fifth inning to open up a 5-0 lead, but he praised Altuve for setting the tone.

"It was awesome," Bregman said. "I feel like that one swing of the bat to start off the game got the crowd into it, got our dugout into it, got our offense going."

"Early in the playoffs, I was swinging at everything and then getting slowly better at swinging at my pitch," Altuve said. "Yeah, I got a hit on a pitch almost above my head today. But it's a hit, so it's good."

The Phillies produced a sensational rally to win Game 1 after trailing 5-0 so Baker was rapt to square up the World Series at 1-1 before it heads to Philadelphia for Game 3 at Citizens Bank Park on Monday.

"It was almost a mathematical must [to win]," Baker said. "It's tough when you lose the first two games at home. But I've been on the other side of the things.

"It's good for the city, good for our fans that they went home happy after last night."

The Houston Astros responded to blowing a 5-0 lead in Game 1 with a fast start to set up their 5-2 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies to square the World Series on Saturday.

The Astros raced to a 3-0 first-inning lead, scoring two runs from the first four pitches from Phillies starter Zach Wheeler, before Alex Bregman's fifth-inning two-run blast shored up a 5-0 lead at Minute Maid Park.

The Phillies had rallied from that deficit on Friday but could not replicate that, despite plating runs in the seventh and ninth innings. Kyle Schwarber thought he had pulled it back to 5-3 with an eighth-inning two-run blast but that was called a foul after a replay review.

Framber Valdez was heroic, sending down 104 pitches before being retired in the seventh inning with nine strikeouts having allowed only four hits, three walks and one earned run.

Jose Altuve's lead-off double from the first pitch was followed by Jeremy Pena's left-field line drive from the second pitch to score the second baseman. Altuve put aside his postseason struggles with three hits for the game.

Two pitches later Pena scored when Yordan Alvarez's left-field shot sailed over Schwarber's head. Alvarez added the third in the inning from an error by shortstop Edmundo Sosa.

Wheeler corrected his early issues, allowing only two singles from 14 batters until Bregman's fifth-inning blast, his third of the postseason.

Nick Castellanos scored from Jean Segura's seventh-inning sacrifice fly, before Schwarber came close to halving the deficit twice, with his two-run blast overturned, followed by a right-field shot that was caught inches short by Kyle Tucker.

Astros first baseman's Yuli Gurriel error allowed Alec Bohm to score in the ninth but Ryan Pressly closed it out to square the World Series at 1-1.

J.T. Realmuto was "ecstatic" to seal a remarkable comeback for the Philadelphia Phillies after his extra-innings home run delivered a 6-5 win against the Houston Astros in the World Series opener.

The catcher struck in the 10th to cap a fine individual performance, as the Phillies drew first blood at Minute Maid Park, having trailing by five at the end of the third.

Realmuto had already been a standout for the Phillies, with a two-run double in the fifth to level things up.

But his 346-foot line-drive home run was the sort of moment the 31-year-old had been dreaming of since he was a child.

"[I'm] just ecstatic to put a good swing on that pitch, be able to give our team the lead," he said. "We did such a good job fighting back there.

"I mean, ball games in the backyard, the whole 3-2, bases-loaded, two-out situation - I probably had 7,000 at-bats in that situation growing up."

Realmuto is the first catcher to score an extra-inning home run in the World Series since Carlton Fisk achieved the feat in 1975.

Nick Castellanos says the Astros will not dwell on their first loss of the postseason.

"Let's go to work," he said. "We've been there before. I think that's what this team does so well.

"We know there's no quit, really. We really respect all 27 outs, and we take that seriously, and we take it [pretty] personal."

The Philadelphia Phillies needed extra innings to complete a comeback victory in a thrilling opening game of the World Series, defeating the Houston Astros 6-5 after J.T. Realmuto's 10th-inning home run.

Despite the close finish, the Astros looked like they were going to run away with Game 1 early, jumping out to a 5-0 lead after Kyle Tucker hit a solo home run in the second inning, and then followed it with a three-run homer an inning later.

The Phillies had to respond, and they did so quickly, rallying with two outs in the fourth inning to string together three consecutive hits off Astros ace Justin Verlander, with a two-run double from Alec Bohm trimming the margin to 5-3.

With two runners on base in the fifth inning, Realmuto tied things up with a two-run double of his own to left-center, and from that point, the bullpens would take over.

Both starting pitchers had rough outings, and they posted nearly identical stat-lines. Verlander made it through five innings, giving up five runs from six hits and two walks, while Aaron Nola also gave up five runs from six hits and two walks, but could only survive four-and-a-third innings. Both starters also finished with five strikeouts.

Neither team scored in the final four innings of regulation, and after Phillies closer Seranthony Dominguez successfully navigated the ninth inning, Realmuto led off the 10th with a 346-foot line-drive home run.

Realmuto and two-time MVP Bryce Harper were the only two Phillies to register multiple hits, both finishing two-for-four with a walk.

David Robertson was tasked with closing the show for the Phillies, and he after his sharp curveball delivered two quick strikeouts, a double to Alex Bregman was followed by a walk and a wild pitch, putting runners on second and third.

But pinch-hitter Aledmys Diaz was unable to be the hero for the Astros, grounding out to third base after he was denied a free pass to first earlier in the at-bat when the umpire ruled he leaned too far into a pitch that grazed his elbow.

Philadelphia Phillies manager Rob Thomson confirmed Aaron Nola will start Game 1 of the World Series against the Houston Astros on Friday ahead of Zack Wheeler.

Wheeler had started Game 1 of the NLCS victory over the San Diego Padres, along with the series-clinching Game 5 on Sunday.

Nola, who had an 11-13 record on 3.25 ERA across the regular season, has not started since being roughed up in Game 2 against the Padres.

Thomson revealed that Wheeler, who has a 3.64 ERA in 10 starts this season when he pitches on four days' rest, will start in Game 2 on Saturday.

"I think the numbers speak to the fact that both him and Nola on an extra day's rest, their numbers are a lot better," Thomson told reporters. "Any time we can give those guys an extra day, we’ll do it."

Wheeler is 1-1 this postseason with a 1.78 ERA and 25 strikeouts, although his fastball velocity dipped on Sunday, yet Thomson endorsed his max-effort strategy.

"I think that's the way to pitch," Thomson said. "You're going to see the top of the lineup in the first two innings, and you better get those guys out or you're going to be in a hole."

The Astros are expected to start Cy Young Award favourite Justin Verlander and left-hander Framber Valdez in Games 1 and 2 respectively.

Philadelphia Phillies manager Rob Thomson hailed Bryce Harper's big-game mentality after he took the team to their first World Series since 2009.

2021 National League MVP Harper smashed a game-winning home run to left-field as the Phillies overcame the San Diego Padres 4-3 in Game 5 of the NLCS on Sunday, clinching a 4-1 series victory.

Harper's homer, which came at a crucial point of the contest after Padres pitcher Yu Darvish helped the visitors back into contention, means the Phillies will contest their eighth World Series, having previously won it all in 1980 and 2008.

Thomson compared Harper to New York Yankees legend and Baseball Hall of Famer Derek Jeter after the win, describing the 30-year-old as a "superstar". 

"The superstar came and he played and that's why he's the MVP," Thomson said. "Incredible. A lot of times you don't see that. The stars just don't hit. But he hit.

"He's physically and mentally tough and he wants to win. When the moment hits, he doesn't get caught up in it. He just goes out and does his job.

"I saw it a lot in my years with Jeter doing the same thing. Their heart doesn't speed up as much as the guy who's throwing to them. They're even-keeled. They stay in the zone."

Harper, meanwhile, was simply relieved to have avoided another trip to San Diego as he dedicated his series-clinching hit to Philadelphia's fans.

"I just looked at my dugout," Harper said. "It's for all of them. It's for this whole team. It's for this whole organisation. We haven't been here for a long time. It's for every single fan that's here.

"I said it to K-Long [hitting coach Kevin Long], 'let's give them something to remember'. It could have been anybody. I don't care. I just wanted the moment for everybody.

"I was not getting on that flight back. I was not getting on that flight to San Diego. Five and a half hours. No chance."

Philadelphia will face the Houston Astros in the World Series, who are bidding to win it all for the second time after completing a 4-0 series sweep of the Yankees on Sunday.

The Philadelphia Phillies are through to their first World Series since 2009 after defeating the San Diego Padres 4-3 in Game 5 of the NLCS on Sunday, securing a 4-1 series victory.

Playing in front of a raucous Philadelphia crowd, the Phillies jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the third inning courtesy of a two-run home run from Rhys Hoskins.

Other than that home run, it was a good outing for Padres pitcher Yu Darvish, who did not allow another run through his six innings to give his side the chance to fight their way back into the contest.

Having struggled in the postseason, Juan Soto drilled a solo homer in the fourth inning, and the Padres tied things up with Josh Bell's RBI double in the seventh frame.

Later in the seventh, it was San Diego taking the lead after a wild pitch allowed Jose Azocar to scamper home from third base, but there would be another twist in the tail-end of this one.

After J.T. Realmuto led off the eighth inning with a single, up stepped two-time MVP Bryce Harper as the next batter, and he connected on what ended up being a game-winning home run to left-field. In doing so, Harper became the first player to ever hit a home run in three series-clinching games in the same postseason.

Ranger Suarez came in and collected the save, getting the final two outs from just two pitches to send the Phillies to the World Series with a chance to win their third championship in their 139-year history. They last won the World Series in 2008, before losing to the Yankees in the 2009 edition.

Philadelphia will face the winner of the ALCS between the Houston Astros and the New York Yankees, with the Astros having a chance to sweep it 4-0 later on Sunday night.

Bryce Harper believes the Philadelphia Phillies have a team built for the postseason, but insisted their job is far from over after moving one win away from the World Series.

The Phillies took a 3-1 lead over the San Diego Padres in the National League Championship Series by coming from 4-0 down to claim a 10-6 win in Game 4 on Saturday at Citizens Bank Park.

Philadelphia will have the chance to finish the job on Sunday in Game 5, with Harper in position to realise the ambition he had when he left the Washington Nationals for the Phillies in a blockbuster move in 2019.

"Anywhere you sign, you want the opportunity to get into the postseason, play late into October," Harper said when asked what his expectations were upon his arrival in 2019.

"I said it in my first Spring Training. It's going to take us a couple years to get there, right? It's going to take us a couple years to build this thing. It's going to take a couple years to understand what our identity is and who we are and what we can do.

"I believe our team is built for October, I really do. I think we have three starters that are really, really good, and I think we have a great bullpen.

"Eighth and ninth inning, those two guys down there can go two innings plus for us. Just our lineup one through nine.

"I think our young guys have been really good for us this year. They stepped up, and our veterans as well."

"This is what we play for. This is what you work for each offseason and going into Spring Training, this is what you want to do."

What a win, boys pic.twitter.com/SeBAc7iMoP

— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) October 23, 2022

The Phillies will face a tough test on Sunday against Padres ace Yu Darvish, who allowed only three hits over seven innings in Game 1, though the two homers he surrendered proved decisive in a 2-0 defeat for San Diego.

"I think we're all just excited for the opportunity. I know I keep saying kind of the same thing, but we're all just so grateful for the opportunity to be here," added Harper.

"I don't think any of us are in shock, but to stand here and say that we're grateful and understand that this opportunity is huge. We're one of the last teams playing right now, and it's really cool to see that.

"When you look at the scoreboard and you see two more, and you look at the scoreboard and nobody's playing that day, just you, you're grateful for the opportunity to be here.

"I think all of us, or myself, I wake up, and I'm just excited. I'm excited, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to come to the ballpark each day. I'm grateful for these fans, them showing out for us and how cool it is, how much fun it is.

"The job's not done. We have a lot ahead of us. We have a really tough matchup tomorrow with Yu. We're excited for that matchup. We're excited for the opportunity, and just ready to get back tomorrow ready to go."

The Philadelphia Phillies are one win away from the World Series after tying a franchise record for their largest comeback in postseason history with a 10-6 Game 4 win over the San Diego Padres in the NLCS on Saturday.

The Padres raced ahead 4-0 in the first inning, but the Phillies responded to square the game by the fourth inning, before pulling away thanks to four home runs at Citizens Bank Park to take a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Rhys Hoskins played a key role in the comeback, blasting two two-run homers, the second tying the game up at 6-6 in the fifth inning, before a go-ahead single from Bryce Harper, who went two-for-four with two RBIs.

Kyle Schwarber and J.T. Realmuto both launched solo home runs in the sixth and seventh innings to add insurance.

The Padres were two out in the first inning before Manny Machado led their early charge with a solo blast followed by Brandon Drury's two-run double and Kim Ha-seong's RBI.

Hoskins commenced an immediate response with his third home run of the postseason, before Harper's RBI cut the margin to one after the first inning.

Phillies shortstop Bryson Stott's base hit to left squared it up at 4-4 in the fourth inning before Juan Soto launched his first postseason homer, a two-run shot, to open up a 6-4 Padres' lead.

Hoskins blasted Sean Manaea over left-center field to tie it up, before Harper drove Realmuto home to take the lead.

The Phillies host the Padres again on Sunday, knowing only 14 of 91 teams have overcome a 3-1 deficit in a League Championship Series or a World Series to win.

Astros open up 3-0 lead with Yankees domination

The Houston Astros are also on the brink of clinching their fourth World Series berth in six seasons after a dominant 5-0 victory over the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium.

The Astros' pitching staff did the damage, with starter Cristian Javier allowing only one hit with five strikeouts across five-and-one-third innings. Javier had led the Astros' combined no-hitter at Yankee Stadium earlier this season in June.

The victory improved the Astros' postseason record to 6-0, having swept the Seattle Mariners in the ALDS, while it was their second shutout of the postseason too.

Chas McCormick blasted a two-run homer in the second inning after Harrison Bader and Aaron Judge's outfield mix-up allowed Christian Vazquez on base from a sky-high pop-out with two out.

The Astros loaded the bases in the fifth inning, leading to Gerrit Cole's removal despite seven K's, before Trey Mancini's sacrifice fly and Vazquez's two-run single from reliever Lou Trivino to capitalise.

Astros catcher Vazquez's brilliant game included a spectacular throw to second base to out Bader when trying to steal with the game poised at 2-0 at the top of the fifth inning.

The Philadelphia Phillies rode an explosive start from slugger Kyle Schwarber to a 4-2 home victory in Game 3 of the NLCS on Friday, taking a 2-1 lead.

Only Aaron Judge (62) hit more home runs in the regular season than Schwarber (46), and he continued his spectacular season with his second of the postseason to snatch a 1-0 lead for the Phillies with a 405-foot bomb as their very first batter.

That lead would hold until the fourth inning, when Jake Cronenworth was able to bring Juan Soto home from third with a groundout to shortstop, but the Phillies wasted no time retaking the advantage.

In the bottom of the fourth, Jean Segura came through with a big two-run single to jump ahead 3-1, with Alec Bohm and Bryson Stott coming around to score.

Schwarber, Stott and Bohm were the three Phillies to collect multiple hits on the day, and Bohm's second was crucial, ripping a double to right-field in the sixth inning to again restore their buffer to 4-2, which their bullpen protected beautifully.

Zach Eflin and Jose Alvarado pitched the sixth and seventh inning, before Seranthony Dominguez saw out the final two frames, giving up just one baserunner while striking out three batters for a six-out save.

Phillies starter Ranger Suarez did enough to earn the win on the mound, getting through five innings for two earned runs in 68 pitches while only giving up two hits and no walks.

Game 4 and Game 5 will remain in Philadelphia, before the best-of-seven series heads back to San Diego for Game 6 and Game 7 if necessary.

The San Diego Padres produced a stunning comeback on the road to defeat the Philadelphia Phillies 8-5 in Game 2 of the NLCS on Wednesday.

San Diego were staring down the barrel of a two-game deficit when Alec Bohm, Matt Vierling, Edmundo Sosa and Kyle Schwarber drove home a run each to jump ahead 4-0 in the second inning.

The Padres would get two runs back in the bottom of the second, courtesy of solo home runs to Brandon Drury and Josh Bell, and to manager Bob Melvin's credit, he stuck with starting pitcher Blake Snell despite his rough start, and he was able to pitch three scoreless innings to set up the comeback.

Trailing 4-2 in the fifth inning, the Padres rattled off five runs, with Bell and Drury again delivering, as well as young star Juan Soto and catcher Austin Nola, who got his hit off his brother, Aaron Nola, who started on the mound for the Phillies.

Manny Machado put on the finishing touches with a 424-foot bomb in the seventh inning, before closer Josh Hader came in to put the Phillies away.

By striking out all three batters he faced – after doing the same in his last outing, and striking out his last two batters the time before that – he became the first pitcher in MLB history to strike out eight consecutive batters in the postseason.

Game 3 and Game 4 will both be played in San Diego, before heading back to Philadelphia for Game 5 in the best-of-seven series.

Verlander dices up the Yankees in Game 1

Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander showed why he is the heavy favourite to take home the American League Cy Young Award, pitching six dominant innings in his side's 4-2 win against the New York Yankees in Game 1.

Verlander struck out 11 batters while only allowing one run from three hits and a walk, with that one run coming from a Harrison Bader solo homer in the second inning to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead. Bader did not hit a home run for the Yankees in the regular season after being acquired at the deadline, but now has four in his past six playoff games.

Their lead was short-lived as Martin Maldonado tied things up with an RBI double later in the second inning, before the Astros hit three solo home runs to jump out to a commanding lead.

Lourdes Gurriel and Chas McCormick went deep in the sixth inning, before rookie Jeremy Pena hit his fourth homer of the postseason to extend the lead to 4-1 in the seventh.

Anthony Rizzo would connect on a consolation home run in the eight inning, but Astros closer Ryan Pressly was up for the task, coming in to collect a four-out save with three strikeouts.

Game 2 will remain in Houston, before the series heads to New York for Game 3 and Game 4.

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Zack Wheeler was at his dominant best as he held the San Diego Padres scoreless through the first seven innings to set up a 2-0 road win in Game 1 of the NLCS.

With a trip to the World Series on the line, the Phillies got off to the perfect start thanks to starring performances from their marquee players.

Wheeler allowed only one hit and one walk in his seven innings, striking out eight batters, after a season where he posted the sixth-best ERA (2.82) in the National League.

His opposing number starting on the mound for the Padres, Yu Darvish, was not much worse, also pitching seven full innings, and while he only allowed three hits, two of them traveled over the fence to decide the game.

Two-time MVP Bryce Harper broke the scoreless tie in the fourth inning, connecting on a 368-foot home run to left-field, and teammate Kyle Schwarber dwarfed that distance with his home run in the sixth.

Schwarber – who finished the season second in the majors with 46 home runs – blasted his longest of the year with a 488-foot nuke into the upper deck at right-field.

In a pitching masterclass, there were only four combined hits in the game, and with his performance, Wheeler became only the second player to ever have a playoff game with seven shutout innings, at least seven strikeouts and no more than one hit in less than 100 pitches. The only other instance was Don Larsen's perfect game for the New York Yankees back in 1956.

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