Philadelphia's Bryce Harper, left, and J.T. Realmuto celebrate Harper's two-run homer in the Phillies' Major League Baseball playoff victory over the Atlanta Braves
New York (AFP) - Rhys Hoskins and Bryce Harper blasted home runs Friday to power the Philadelphia Phillies over Atlanta 9-1, pushing the defending champion Braves to the brink of Major League Baseball playoff elimination.
The Phillies, in their first post-season appearance since 2011, took a 2-1 lead over the Braves in their best-of-five National League division series and can advance with another home victory on Saturday.
“It was just a good night overall offensively,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said. “We just kept adding on.”
The Phillies haven’t reached the NL Championship Series since 2010, haven’t reached the World Series since 2009 and haven’t won the World Series since 2008.
The Los Angeles Dodgers visited San Diego in a later NL division series contest with that matchup level 1-1.
In an American League game postponed from Thursday by rain, Oscar Gonzalez drove in one 10th-inning run and scored another to lift visiting Cleveland over the New York Yankees 4-2 and level the series 1-1 with games the next two days in Cleveland.
“We’re excited to go back home to our fans,” Guardians slugger Josh Naylor said. “We’re going to bring the same energy we bring every day.”
At Philadelphia, Bryson Stott smacked a run-scoring double in the fourth and Hoskins followed two batters later with a three-run homer to give the Phillies a 4-0 lead.
“You’ve got to be on the fast ball there,” Hoskins said. “I was just lucky enough to get one up high and in the middle. After that, I don’t know if my feet touched the ground.”
J.T. Realmuto singled next and Harper then smashed a two-run homer to put Philadelphia ahead 6-0.
“I was just fired up, ready to go on pitch one,” Harper said. “I know he likes his heater so I was ready for it.”
Atlanta’s Dansby Swanson doubled in the sixth and scored on a Michael Harris single but the Phillies answered in the seventh on a run-scoring single by Harper and a two-run single by Nick Castellanos.
At New York, 10th-inning leadoff hitter Jose Ramirez turned a bloop hit to short left field into a double and took third on a throwing error by Yankees third baseman Josh Donaldson.
Gonzalez followed by lofting a bloop single over first base to score Ramirez and give the Guardians a 3-2 edge.
Naylor followed with a double to the centerfield wall that scored Gonzalez to produce the final margin.
“Just put the ball in play, hit something solid,” Naylor said of Cleveland’s strategy. “Our game plan was just to get runners on base and move them.”
Donaldson got a one-out walk for New York in the 10th but Oswaldo Cabrera struck out and Isiah Kiner-Falefa grounded out to end the game.
Giancarlo Stanton had put the Yankees ahead with a two-run homer in the first.
But the Guardians answered in the fourth when Naylor singled, advanced on a walk and scored on a single by Andres Gimenez. Amed Rosario made it 2-2 with a solo homer in the fifth.