PHILADELPHIA — Two scenes, one money superstar and one night of madness here that pushed this Philadelphia Phillies team to the brink of immortality.
Bryce Harper stood on second base, essentially center stage in the intervening time, with a deafening sellout crowd of 45,467 roaring. He had just roped an R.B.I. double, the ultimate, tiebreaking death blow for the San Diego Padres in a 10-6 Philadelphia win Saturday night that moved the Phillies to inside one win of clinching a World Series berth.
Because the ovation washed over Harper, he screamed, with expletive included, something to the effect of, “That is my house!” In waves, the spirited noise only became louder.
The second scene got here 45 minutes or so after the victory was sealed and this whole city already was on alert, pointing to Sunday and a possible clincher. Now, it was quiet and Harper was ending up within the press interview room. As he exited and the following player entered, Harper paused and dramatically announced:
“Rhys Hoskins, everybody! There he’s!”
4 games into this National League Championship Series, it has change into clear that it will take a rare effort by the Padres to stop the fightin’ Phillies. And now facing a three-games-to-one deficit, even extraordinary will not be enough.
The Phillies spotted the Padres 4 first-inning runs in Game 4. Their opener, a little-known fellow named Bailey Falter, who had not pitched since Oct. 5, lasted exactly six batters before being sent to the showers. All signs pointed to San Diego evening this series at 2-2.
After which, the Phillies lowered the boom.
Hoskins crushed two two-run homers. Kyle Schwarber scored three runs, clubbed a 429-foot solo homer and was so engaged that at one point during a mid-game at-bat that he showed bunt on a 3-1 count as if that actually was going to occur.
“Like, you’re never going to see Kyle Schwarber try this, not within the regular season,” Hoskins raved afterward. “This guy just desires to win games, find any way on base. He knew we would have liked slightly little bit of a rally.
“It’s just good baseball. It’s fun to be an element of.”
The highest five hitters within the Phillies lineup — Schwarber, Hoskins, J.T. Realmuto, Harper and Nick Castellanos — combined to go 9 for 18 with 4 home runs, nine R.B.I. and 10 runs scored.
It was a bludgeoning, a domination, an annihilation.
It was thorough and, oh, so complete.
“I just think we’re jelling, we’re adapting on the fly, we’re playing baseball,” Castellanos said. “We’re rolling. We’re stepping up, we’re playing defense, we’re turning the page.”
And they beautiful much did all of it on an evening that began as if it might belong to San Diego.
When the Phillies returned to their dugout following San Diego’s four-run first inning, Hoskins said they were calm, cool and businesslike. Any person said, and lots of others — including manager Rob Thomson — echoed the mantra: 27 outs. They hadn’t even taken their first licks yet. They knew there was an extended approach to go. They knew the Padres essentially were matching them in a bullpen game with pitchers coming down the road who could also be used out of their extraordinary roles.
Given all of that, Hoskins said, the Phillies knew they were going “to slug.” And slug they did.
It is a team that needed to scrap all of the approach to the finish line of the regular season just to assert the bread crumb that was the last of six playoff spots within the N.L.
That was then. Now, this team is flexing its muscles and appears poised to assert its ninth N.L. pennant as soon as Sunday.
“As soon as our at-bats are over, we’re searching for someone to inform, ‘Hey, that is what I saw, that is how he’s throwing his pitches,’” Castellanos said of the Phillies’ eagerness to share suggestions with one another.
In a first-inning that stretched to 48 minutes once Philadelphia got its turn at bat, the Phillies ran San Diego starter Mike Clevinger off before he had obtained a single out. Things didn’t go any higher for Sean Manaea, the third of six Padres pitchers.
“We’ve all the time had that fight in us the entire 12 months,” Schwarber said. “We imagine in ourselves. We feel that we’re never out of it, regardless of what the rating is.
“We’re going to maintain fighting.”
That’s the Padres’ problem for Sunday. They led 4-0 and 6-4 in Game 4 and got here away empty. So now what?
The Phillies now can clinch a spot of their first World Series since 2009 on Sunday afternoon with Zack Wheeler on the mound. In three postseason starts this month, Wheeler has surrendered only three earned runs over 19⅓ innings for a 1.40 E.R.A. He has struck out 17 and walked only three. Combining each regular and postseason play, Wheeler has thrown 25⅔ consecutive scoreless innings over eight starts against the Padres.
The Phillies sense that that is their moment, they’re behaving as if that is their moment and the crowds in Residents Bank Park this month have been absolutely bonkers, as in the event that they know something.
Take Harper on the market on their own at second base Saturday night, Realmuto having just scored to lift the Phillies right into a 7-6 lead and pandemonium breaking loose throughout him.
“Just having all of us together in that moment, it was just a lot fun,” Harper said, referring to the 26 Phillies and the 45,467 standing and screaming within the stands. “Just the chance to try this and we’re all on this, and just the entire city of Philadelphia and all of the Phillies within the organization.
“The fans have showed out for us each night. It was rocking again tonight. Just a lot fun. A lot fun.”
Before the sport, Padres Manager Bob Melvin was saying that “each day within the postseason, it feels as in the event you’re on the brink, to let you know the reality. Once you’ve lost a game the day before, it feels much more so.”
By evening’s end, Philadelphia had updated that from each day to each inning for the Padres. They were on the brink all evening Saturday, and now there may be nowhere else to go. They’re on the cliff’s edge.
“Hey, it’s tough to play within the jungle, man,” Castellanos said. “All evening, the cheering, the noise, it’s rough. It definitely has an effect on the sport.”
That said, from Castellanos to Schwarber to everyone else within the Phillies clubhouse, all of them went to extremes to emphasise that there shall be no letting down now.
“I don’t think I’d be comfortable to say we delivered a knockout blow,” Castellanos said in response to a number one query. “That’s an excellent team over there.”
However the Phillies to date have been the higher team.
“I don’t think any of us are in shock, but to face here and say that we’re grateful and understand that this chance is big,” Harper said. “We’re certainly one of the last teams playing right away and it’s really cool to see that.”
Harper and Castellanos each emphasized the enjoyment within the moment. You reach the tip of the night, Castellanos said, “and I’m excited to get up and play baseball again.”
Harper echoed that.
“I’m grateful for the chance to return to the ballpark every day,” he said. ‘I’m grateful for these fans, them showing out for us and the way cool it’s, how much fun it’s.”
One win away from his first World Series, Harper is on deck for much more fun.