World Series: Astros’ Lance McCullers Jr. allows five Phillies home runs, dismisses the idea of ​​flipping the pitch

World Series: Astros’ Lance McCullers Jr. allows five Phillies home runs, dismisses the idea of ​​flipping the pitch

Houston Astros right-handed Lance McCullers Jr. suffered humiliation as part of his start in Game 3 of the World Series on Tuesday night, becoming the first pitcher to ever surrender five home runs in a World Series contest. McCullers left during the fifth inning, allowing seven runs on six hits in 4 1/3 innings.

McCullers’ problems started out of the gate. Bryce Harper (two-run shot), Alec Bohmand Brandon Marsh each launched home runs in the first two innings to give Philadelphia a 4-0 lead and in the process Phillies the first team ever to hit three home runs in the first two frames of a World Series game.

McCullers would settle down for a while after the second inning. He retired eight straight batters leading into the fifth. Then he ran into new problems. McCullers, who, for whatever reason, was allowed to face the lineup for the third time, gave up a single to Marsh and then scored back-to-back runs to Kyle Schwarber and Rhys Hoskinsgiving the Phillies a 7-0 lead.

It’s worth noting that Harper raised eyebrows after his first-inning home run when he was shown on the Fox broadcast first calling, then handing off a message to Bohm, then waiting his turn at the plate in the on-deck circle. It’s unclear what, exactly, Harper said to Bohm, or whether it even applied to McCullers — let alone whether he was tilting his pitches or using a predictable pattern.

Still, Bohm was coy when Ken Rosenthal asked him about Harper’s comments later in the game. He clearly said that this conversation will remain between them.

After the game, both McCullers and manager Dusty Baker dismissed the idea that the starter was switching pitches.

“This has nothing to do with tips,” McCullers told reporters, including MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart. “Obviously they had a good game plan against me and they outplayed me.”

“I got excited,” he added.

Baker, meanwhile, said the team sees no reason to believe McCullers tipped. “Sometimes they just hit you,” he said, according to Gabe Lacques of USA Today.

Whatever Harper did or didn’t say, and whatever the Phillies did or didn’t notice about McCullers’ delivery, they launched more home runs against him Tuesday than the four he allowed in 47 2/3 regular-season innings.

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