Bryce Harper Celebrates Birthday With HR, Phillies Win In Game 1 Of NLCS
PHILADELPHIA -- Bryce Harper always wanted to play a baseball game on his birthday. So he made sure his 31st was one to celebrate.
Harper crushed a 420-foot first-inning home run, blew out his "candles" as he crossed home plate, lined an RBI single in the third inning, walked and scored in the fifth inning, received chants of "M-V-P!" and was serenaded with a couple of "Happy birthday!" shoutouts from the home fans. With Harper leading the way, and with the Philadelphia Phillies delivering an early burst of home runs, they beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-3 to win Game 1 of the National League Championship Series on Monday night.
"It's crazy. Sometimes I just do stuff. That felt right, step on home plate and do that," Harper said. "I thought about it as I was running around third base."
The scary thing for the Diamondbacks: Harper might not even be the Phillies' hottest hitter. Nick Castellanos gave them a 3-0 lead with a second-inning home run off Gallen, following the first-inning blasts from Kyle Schwarber and Harper.
It was Castellanos' fifth home run over three postseason games -- tying Reggie Jackson's mark from the 1977 World Series, when he homered once in Game 4, once in Game 5, and three times in the Game 6 clincher for the New York Yankees.
After the Phillies jumped all over Gallen, starting pitcher Zack Wheeler took over in leading Philadelphia's efforts, retiring 15 in a row until Geraldo Perdomo touched him for a two-run home run in the sixth.
Game 2 is Tuesday night with the Diamondbacks' Merrill Kelly facing the Phillies' Aaron Nola.
Follow the MLB Playoffs all the way through the World Series on ESPN 102.3/AM 1000 KSOO.
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