Shell shocked: McCullers Jr. allows five HRs as Phillies blank Astros 7-0 to put Houston down 2-1 in Fall Classic

Mandatory Credit: Photo by David J Phillip/AP/Shutterstock (13604330bv) Houston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. reacts after giving up a home run to Philadelphia Phillies’ Brandon Marsh during the second inning in Game 3 of baseball’s World Series between the Houston Astros and the Philadelphia Phillies, in Philadelphia World Series Astros Phillies Baseball, Philadelphia, United States – 01 Nov 2022

Shell shocked: McCullers Jr. allows five HRs as Phillies blank Astros 7-0 to put Houston down 2-1 in Fall Classic

After shifting the series back a day because of the postponement of Game 3 on Monday due to rain, the Astros and Phillies resumed play in the 2022 World Series on Tuesday in Philadelphia. Both teams looked to get a leg up and take a 2-1 lead in the series. 

In a historically disappointing outing by Lance McCullers Jr., the Phillies would slug and pitch their way to a 7-0 shutout win, putting Houston in need of three wins in the next four games to win their second championship in franchise history. 

Philadelphia shells McCullers Jr.

After Game 3 started with Houston’s order going 1-2-3 on nine pitches in the top of the first against Ranger Suárez, McCullers Jr. took the mound in the bottom half. He issued a leadoff walk, which came back to bite him with two outs as Bryce Harper would capitalize on a hanging curveball, depositing it into the Citizens Bank Park seats to put the Phillies up 2-0. 

After stranding two Astros runners in the top of the second, Philadelphia added another run to their lead on the first pitch of the bottom of the inning, with Alec Bohm launching a solo homer. Brandon Marsh added another with two outs, adding to McCullers Jr.’s woes over the first two innings. 

After a much smoother third and fourth, Kyle Schwarber would be the next to tee off on Houston’s starter, blasting a two-run homer in the bottom of the fifth before Rhys Hoskins would make it back-to-back jacks. He was the fifth Phillies batter to hit a home run on the night, extending the Astros’ deficit to 7-0 and chasing McCullers Jr. out of the game, a game he will fight to forget for a long time to come. 

Astros fall behind 2-1 in World Series

Ryne Stanek came in to finish the fifth, getting back-to-back strikeouts to end that frame before Jose Urquidy would make his first appearance of the postseason in the bottom of the sixth. He stranded a single and walk to get through that frame, then returned with the game still 7-0 in the bottom of the seventh, posting another scoreless inning.

Urquidy would go one more, tossing a 1-2-3 bottom of the eighth, while Houston continued to get held without a run. That continued in the top of the ninth, with Philadelphia’s bullpen finishing off the shutout and putting Houston down 2-1 in the series heading to Game 4.

News and notes

Going gold: Before Game 3, the Astros had two players receive 2022 American League Gold Glove Awards: Kyle Tucker in right field and Jeremy Peña at shortstop. It was both players’ first time taking home the award, with Peña becoming the first rookie shortstop to take home the honor in MLB history. 

Game 4 on deck: Another game in Philadelphia awaits the teams on Wednesday at 7:03 p.m. Central. Cristian Javier (11-9, 2.54 ERA) will be on the mound for the Astros, opposite Aaron Nola (11-13, 3.25 ERA) for the Phillies. 

A night to forget for McCullers Jr.: With his terrible outing in Game 3, Lance McCullers Jr. became the first pitcher to allow five home runs in a postseason game. 

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