Hoskins, Haper home run, Phillies overwhelm Braves

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Rhys Hoskins raised his arms and slammed the bat. It was a moment of pure enthusiasm, one that will go down in Philadelphia sports history.

Then, the ballplayer toured the pads, while a good part of the 45,538 spectators jumped nonstop. It was something of a paranormal experience for the veteran slugger.

“Man, I just lived for the moment! I didn’t know what I was doing until a couple of innings later, really,” he recounted.

Hoskins woke up with the wood in the playoffs, hitting a three-run homer and starring in the fiery celebration, during a Friday afternoon when the Phillies thrashed the Atlanta Braves 9-1 in Game 3 of the division series of the National League.

Bryce Harper added to the offensive fest with a two-run homer for Philadelphia, which continued to surprise in these playoffs.

Harper added an RBI double and the Phillies took a 2-1 lead to move within a single win of eliminating the last World Series champions. They could do it this Saturday at home, if they win the fourth duel.

In 1980, Tug McGraw harangued his peers with the cry of “you have to believe”. There was a simile this time, with Harper.

“He yelled at me, ‘We don’t lose,'” Hoskins said. “I think that’s what he thinks of us. It’s what we all believe.”

He then turned to Harper and asked, “Do you want to do it again?”

“Let’s do it again,” Harper replied.

The Phillies had waited 11 years, mostly for oblivion, to once again host a playoff game at Citizens Bank Park. For most of the fans who turned out for the day, it was worth the 4,025-day wait.

And the crowd should keep the towels it waves to order big bunches of runs: It looks like this team wants to continue its red-hot October.

Bats rang during a six-run third-inning run. Bryson Stott sparked the offense with an RBI double off rookie Spencer Strider.

Kyle Schwarber intentionally walked, setting the stage for Hoskins.

Bogged down in a streak that had gone 1-19, Hoskins found a 94-mph fastball and catapulted the ball into the left-field stands to make it 4-0. He raised his arms and slammed the baton into the grass, before beginning his victorious trot.

“I don’t know if my feet touched the ground,” he said.

Strider, pitching for the first time in nearly a month after straining his left oblique, gave up one more single before Dylan Lee relieved him and ended his ordeal.

In his first home playoff game with the Phillies, Harper hit the home run that made it 6-0. Philadelphia fans, who carried large letters to spell out Harper’s name, jumped again.

“This was the important thing, Harper said. Now we have an opportunity to solve this at home”, commented the player, twice chosen as the Most Valuable in the National League.

Aaron Nola, who is pitching better than ever, shut down a team that won 101 games on the season and was crowned in the Eastern Division. He allowed five hits, walked a couple of times and had six strikeouts in just over six innings.

For the Braves, Venezuelans Ronald Acuña Jr. 4-1, Orlando Arcia 2-1, William Contreras 1-0. The Dominican Marcell Ozuna 4-0. Puerto Rican Eddie Rosario 2-0.

For the Phillies, Dominican Jean Segura 2-0.

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Hoskins, Haper home run, Phillies overwhelm Braves