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Birthday Bryce Harper Joins Phillies Home Run Barrage in Game 1

Bryce Harper celebrates his 31st birthday with a home run in Game 1 of the NLCS, leading the Phillies to victory.

The Philadelphia Phillies sure know how to throw an epic birthday celebration, and Bryce Harper's 31st trip around the sun was no exception. In Game 1 of the National League Championship Series, Harper made a powerful statement by launching a home run as part of a relentless offensive onslaught by the Phillies.

Right out of the gate, Harper and his teammates unleashed a barrage of three home runs in the first two innings against the Diamondbacks, quickly establishing a commanding 3-0 lead. Harper's blast, which soared deep into the right-field stands, sent the crowd at Citizens Bank Park into a frenzy and propelled Philadelphia ahead by two runs.

In a delightful display of birthday spirit, Harper celebrated his milestone by putting up three fingers on one hand and one on the other, mimicking the act of blowing out candles on a cake as he made his way to home plate. This playful gesture added an extra touch of excitement to an already electric atmosphere.

By accomplishing this feat, Harper joined an exclusive club of only four players in MLB postseason history who have hit a home run on their birthday. The illustrious company includes Willie Aikens, Kolten Wong, and Evan Longoria, as confirmed by ESPN Stats & Info.

The birthday bash had already commenced just moments before Harper's turn at the plate, as Kyle Schwarber kicked off the festivities with a solo blast on the very first pitch of the game. The energy in the stadium reached new heights when Nick Castellanos, continuing his remarkable postseason performance, launched the third home run of the game and his fifth of the playoffs. Impressively, all five of Castellanos' homers came in the Phillies' last three games.

This achievement tied him with Boston Red Sox legend David Ortiz for the most playoff home runs in a single postseason. Ortiz, a revered figure in Red Sox history, blasted five homers during Boston's iconic 2004 run, including two walk-off shots that helped break the Curse of the Bambino.

Castellanos now joins the ranks of only seven Phillies players in franchise history who have hit five or more postseason home runs, and he becomes the 60th player across all of Major League Baseball to achieve this milestone.

While Harper's birthday blast and Castellanos' heroics certainly added to the excitement, it's worth noting that the record for the most home runs in a single postseason still belongs to Randy Arozarena of the Tampa Bay Rays, who slugged an astonishing 10 homers in 2020.

As the game progressed, Harper continued to make his presence felt, driving in a fourth run for Philadelphia with a well-placed single in the bottom of the third inning, allowing shortstop Trea Turner to cross home plate.

Overall, the Phillies' explosive offensive performance, coupled with Harper's birthday fireworks, created an unforgettable start to the National League Championship Series. With the team firing on all cylinders, it's clear that the Phillies are determined to make their mark and pursue a shot at championship glory.

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