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WATCH: Bryce Harper delivers go-ahead, 2-run home run, sends Philadelphia Phillies to World Series

Bryce Harper, Philadelphia Phillies

Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper stepped to the plate in the 8th inning on Sunday with the opportunity of a lifetime. Trailing 3-2 in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series, the reigning NL MVP had a chance to send the Phillies back to the World Series.

The moment was set up by an unthinkable October run for Philadelphia. It snuck into the MLB playoffs, snapping an 11-year postseason drought, but few expected the Phillies to make it far. Instead, they swept the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Wild Card Series before knocking out the reigning World Series champion Atlanta Braves in the National League Divison Series.

Heading into the NLCS, Philadelphia still faced long odds to win the pennant. Most believed the San Diego Padres would come out on top, denying the Phillies of a shot at another championship. But the Phillies maintained their momentum as the hottest team in MLB, taking the field at Citizens Bank Park with a 3-1 series lead and one win shy of a World Series berth.

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After Rhys Hoskins put Philadelphia out ahead early with a 2-0 lead in the 3rd inning, San Diego responded with three unanswered runs. With Robert Suarez on the mound, the Padres were just six outs shy of taking Game 5. With J.T. Realmuto on first and Harper in the batter’s box as the go-ahead run, the two-time NL MVP delivered the biggest hit of his career.

According to FOX Sports, Harper joined George Vukovich as the second player in Phillies’ history to hit a go-ahead home run at home in the 7th inning or later of a postseason game. Moments after hitting the two-run blast, he took FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal through the at-bat.

“I feel like I was seeing it better as the at-bat got longer and longer, I just felt like I was seeing more pitches, felt like I was seeing it better. He beat me with the heater in San Diego, so just trying to stay on that pitch and once I took the changeup on 1-2, I knew he was going to come with his heater, it’s his best pitch. So, just tried to take the best swing I could and do damage with it.”

Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper on his go-ahead home run in the 8th inning, via FOX Sports

The Phillies are now headed back to the World Series for the first time since 2009, when they lost to the New York Yankees in six games. This is the eighth NL pennant in franchise history.

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