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The Philadelphia Phillies Defy Odds, Flip the Script, Secure World Series Berth

The Philadelphia Phillies are on their way to the World Series for the first time since 2009 and are doing it as the underdog.

It seems that almost every great Philadelphia sports moment is an underdog story. The Philadelphia Eagles in the 2018 Super Bowl come to mind. So does Rocky, the greatest underdog of all-time, albeit fictional, and a host of other teams since the 1800s.

Now, it is the 2022 Philadelphia Phillies.

This season's team cemented their status on Sunday as one of the great sports stories this city has seen in decades.

It all started with another incredible start from ace Zack Wheeler, who went 6.0 innings while allowing just three hits and two earned runs and striking out eight. If there was one guy you wanted on the mound in such a pivotal moment, it was him. And the Phillies were grateful.

Despite the rain, the cold, and the wind blowing in from center field, Philadelphia fans could not be contained when Rhys Hoskins did what he has done best this series: hit a two-run home run.

The third-inning two-run shot was the tone-setter for the Phillies, giving them a 2-0 lead over the San Diego Padres. But, more importantly, it was the third time in the past two games Hoskins had accomplished the feat. 

For someone who had been struggling to make plays on the field and, at times, looked lost at the plate too, it was a massive moment for him.

Phillies owner John Middleton described Hoskins as "the soul" of this franchise, this moment solidifying that sentiment.

But, it's the MLB postseason and nothing comes easy. They never said it would.

In the very next inning, Padres phenom Juan Soto took to the plate and, just like Hoskins, continued his torrid streak. He launched a no-doubter off of Wheeler to cut the Phillies' lead in half. 

It was now 2-1 and the rain started falling ever harder. And it was the seventh inning when things began to unravel for the Phillies.

With conditions deteriorating on the mound due to rain, Wheeler was pulled and Seranthony Domínguez was called upon to try and help lock down the inning and get them to the eighth.

It didn't work.

Domínguez allowed two runs to score on his watch, but the weather played a significant factor on his grip. He threw three wild pitches in the inning, the same amount he threw the rest of the season combined.

3-2 Padres.

It seemed like hope was lost on the day. Fans relegated themselves to expecting at least one more game, this time in San Diego. The rain and the cold kept the crowd subdued. It was time to go home and get warm.

But this 2022 underdog Phillies team doesn't think that way.

No, they fight until the very end.

In the eighth inning, magic happened. Baseball history was made. A legend's status cemented.

J.T. Realmuto led off the inning with a huge single to set up Bryce Harper.

The crowd started stirring. Could Harper, the $330 million man, really do this? 

He did.

After taking a splitter, Harper got the fastball he wanted and crushed an opposite-field home run. A thing of pure beauty. An act of God? Baseball and Phillies history.

4-3 Phillies.

Finally, it was time to close out the game.

Manager Rob Thomson called upon David Robertson to handle the bottom of San Diego's lineup. Whether it was the injury he is recovering from, the weather, or the moment, Robertson just didn't have it after getting Wil Meyers to strike out for the first out of the ninth.

Then, the man with the coolest demeanor, the lowest heart rate, and an underrated presence on the pitching staff, Ranger Suárez, was called upon.

He delivered.

Suárez recorded the last two outs and sent the Phillies to the World Series.

An unlikely story to be sure, just don't tell them that.

More From SI's Inside The Phillies:

  1. Phillies Star Bryce Harper Doesn't Hold Back on Thoughts About Joe Girardi
  2. How Mike Trout Will Join the Phillies
  3. Could Bryce Harper's Favorite MLB Player Join the Philadelphia Phillies Next Season?
  4. Why You Should Root for the Philadelphia Phillies to Lose a Few Games
  5. Phillies Release 2023 Regular Season Schedule
  6. Have the Philadelphia Phillies Found Their Centerfielder of the Future?
  7. Could The Phillies Soon Be Playing in Wawa Park?
  8. How did Philadelphia end up with Citizens Bank Park?
  9. How the Phillie Phanatic Came to be America's Favorite Sports Mascot
  10. Picking the Phillies' All-Time Single Season Lineup

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