Philadelphia strikes early and powers past Arizona late in Game 5 of NLCS, tiltS momentum in their favor
PHOENIX, Ariz. ( KYMA, KECY-TV ) - Two of the top pitchers in the National League toed the rubber at Chase Field on Saturday evening for Game 5 of the National League Championship Series. Arizona matched their ace Zc Gallen against Philadelphia's workhorse, Zack Wheeler. Through the first two games, the home teams have won each decision deadlocking the series 2-2. A win Saturday night would dramatically swing the momentum in the winner's favor and put them in the catbird seat, one game away from the World Series.
In the top of the first inning, leadoff batter Kyle Schwarber reached on a slow roller down the third base line. Two batters later, Bryce Harper singled to center moving Schwarber to second. Zac Gallen would get the next batter to foul out. With two runners on and two outs, Bryson Stott singled to right scoring Schwarber from second and advancing Harper to third.
With two outs and runners on the corners, the Phillies deployed a double steal in which Harper scored, aided by a throwing error by Ketel Marte.
"We wanted to add on a run if we could, put a little pressure on them," Phillies manager Rob Thomson said. "If Stott breaks and the ball goes through he stops and Harp breaks. If they pump fake then Stott just walks into second base."
Diamondbacks catcher Gabriel Moreno would throw down to second trying to throw out Stott, Marte cut off the throw and threw back to Moreno at home plate trying to nail Bryce Harper at home. The throw was off the mark and would get away from Moreno. Harper's score gave Philadelphia and 2-0 lead.
Harper's steal of home was the first in Phillies postseason history. He also made a diving catch and pummeled a 450 foot homerun to right field in the sixth inning.
"I'll tell ya, he's as good as they get," Thomson said. "He might be the best I've ever been around."
Philadelphia would never trail after scoring in the first inning. Along with Harper, Kyle Schwarber also homered in the sixth inning. Both solo homeruns. J.T. Realmuto added a two run blast in the eighth as Philadelphia regained control of the series 3-2 with a 6-1 victory.
Arizona's lone run came off the bat of Alek Thomas, a solo homerun in the bottom of the seventh inning. For Thomas, the homerun followed his dramatic Game 4 pinch hit homerun that tied the game at 5-5 before the Diamondbacks won 6-5. Despite the loss, Thomas says he's enjoying postseason baseball.
"It's super fun. Win or lose you just have to look back and put things into perspective," Thomas said. "It sucks to lose but at the same time, it's a blessing to be here. We've got a lot of guys in this locker room that can get it done and I think that's gonna be tough going back to philly but I think we can get it done."
Thomas says Philadelphia is a hard place to play but after Game 1 & 2, the Diamondbacks now know what to expect.
"It's awesome, the Phillies definitely have a great fan base but I think the Diamondbacks have it a little better," Thomas said. "Definitely going to be tough but it is what it is. The moment isn't with the fans it's out on the baseball field so, we just gotta string together good at bats and try to get it done."
With the series shifting back to Philadelphia, the Phillies know they'll be in for a fight.
"Winning a game here is huge, it really is," Thomson said. "Especially the way we lost the first two here. Just shows the toughness of our club, the resiliency of our club because they [Arizona] are not going to quit. They're not, this thing is not over so we gotta show up on Monday and put the pedal down and get after this thing and play good baseball>
First pitch on Monday in Philadelphia is scheduled for 2:07 p.m. Arizona time. Merrill Kelly will start for Arizona against Aaron Nola for Philadelphia.
The Arizona Diamondbacks potential home game tickets for the World Series presented by Capital One will go on sale on Monday, October 23 at 9 a.m. Fans can purchase tickets online on this link.