PHILADELPHIA ( Associated Press) – Rhys Hoskins raised his arms and swung his bat. It was a moment of pure euphoria that would go down in Philadelphia sports history.
Then, the player went around the pad while a good portion of the 45,538 spectators jumped non-stop. It was an extraordinary experience for the veteran slugger.
“Man, I just lived for the moment! I didn’t know what I was doing really after a few innings,” he said.
Hoskins woke up by hitting a three-run home run in the playoffs and led to fiery celebrations as the Phillies beat the Atlanta Braves 9-1 on Friday afternoon in Game 3 of the NBA Division Series, National League Finals.
Bryce Harper added to the offensive celebration with a two-run homer for Philadelphia, who continued to surprise in these playoffs.
Harper added an RBI double and the Phillies took a 2–1 lead within one win of eliminating the defending World Series champions. If they win the fourth game, they can do so at home this Saturday.
In 1980, Tug McGraw rattled his teammates with the slogan “You have to believe”. This time with Harper there was an analogy.
“He yelled at me, ‘We don’t lose,'” Hoskins said. “I think that’s what he thinks about us. It’s what we all believe.”
Then he looked at Harper and asked, “Do you want to do it again?”
“Let’s do it again,” Harper replied.
The Phillies had waited 11 years, mostly forgotten, to host a playoff game again at Citizens Bank Park. The wait of 4,025 days was well worth it for most of the fans who attended the event.
And the public should hold on to the towels they wave for the big race clusters: Looks like this team is looking to continue come October.
The bats went berserk during a six-run third inning. Bryson Stott ignited the offense by hitting an RBI double off rookie Spencer Strider.
Kyle Schwarber drew an intentional walk, setting the stage for Hoskins.
After embarking on a 19–1 streak, Hoskins found a 94 mph ball and drove the ball into the left field bleachers to make it 4–0. He raised his arms and slammed the stick on the grass before starting his triumphant march.
“I don’t know if my feet touch the ground,” he said.
Strider, pitching for the first time in nearly a month after straining his left oblique, allowed one more single before Dillon Lee took over and ended his ordeal.
In his first home playoff game with the Phillies, Harper hit a home run that made the score 6–0. Capitalized Philadelphia fans jumped in again to spell Harper’s name.
“It was the important thing,” Harper said. Now we have an opportunity to solve it at home”, commented the player, who was twice selected as the National League’s Most Valuable.
Aaron Nola, shooting better than ever, capped off a team that won 101 games on the season and won the Eastern Division. He allowed five hits, scored two runs, and struck out six in only six innings.
For the Braves, Ronald Acuna Jr. 4-1 of Venezuela, Orlando Arcia 2-1, William Contreras 1-0. Dominican Marcel Ozuna 4-0. Puerto Rican Eddie Rosario 2-0.
For the Phillies, Dominican Jean Segura 2–0.