Harper’s 2 Homers, 4 RBI Lead Phillies Past Giants for 60th Win

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By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor

Amid a close National League Wild Card race — with the Philadelphia Phillies (60-56) being among six teams vying for two postseason spots — timing could have not been more perfect for the club to end its three-game losing skid in Friday evening's matchup opposite the San Francisco Giants (57-60) at Oracle Park.

Southpaw Drew Smyly made his fourth start with the Phillies, but he was far from the main story in the Phillies' strong 9-6 win, as Bryce Harper produced his first multi-home run game of 2019 — with his two home runs adding up to 876 feet and four RBI.

Overall, the Phillies offense produced two four-run innings; Harper's three-run blast (his second of the game) helped with the latter, while recently acquired outfielder Corey Dickerson's bases-clearing triple early on helped with the first. With a three-run lead, RHP Hector Neris notched his 20th save in the ninth.

The win helped the Phillies remain in the thick of the postseason race — remaining tied with the St. Louis Cardinals and their division rival New York Mets as being just a half-game back of the Milwaukee Brewers for the second Wild Card spot. Just 46 games remain this season, with only 21 being at home.

The Phillies entered the game having lost four straight games at Oracle Park, scoring only one run combined.

The game's first run came via two outs in the bottom of the second, when Giants center fielder Kevin Pillar took Smyly yard for his 14th home run of the season.

San Francisco would not hold the lead for long, as the Phillies responded with four runs the next half-inning. Smyly helped his own cause with a one-out walk, and would eventually advance to third after Harper also walked, and Rhys Hoskins singled to left. With the bases loaded, Dickerson brought all runners home with a triple, his first this season. Jean Segura then produced a sacrifice fly RBI, putting the Phillies on top, 4-1. Dickerson's bases-clearing triple ended an 11-inning scoreless drought for the Phillies.

Smyly would allow one run each in the bottom of the third and fourth — a solo home run to left fielder Joey Rickard and a RBI groundout to Pillar, respectively. Harper would make up for one of the runs, launching a 420-foot home run to center in the fifth to give the Phillies a 5-3 advantage.

Giants beat writer Henry Schulman on Harper's "shush" to the crowd: "… [Harper] (and other Phillies) were unhappy with some specific things being said behind the plate by fans, something 'people shouldn't say and shouldn't come out of their mouths.'"

The Giants retook the lead for the first time since they led 1-0, with a three-run sixth inning — three runs (two unearned due to a Segura error) all charged to Smyly's line. Giants first baseman Buster Posey reached on Segura's fielding mishap, and catcher Stephen Vogt made the Phillies pay, launching a 423-foot, two-run blast to tie the game at five. Smyly would walk Rickard two batters later with two outs, and was replaced by southpaw reliever Jose Alvarez.

Alvarez would allow back-to-back singles, the latter of which a RBI base knock to leadoff batter and second baseman Donovan Solano, giving the Giants a 6-5 lead. Despite allowing this inherent runner to score, Alvarez would be credited with his third win with the Phillies, improving his season record to 3-2.

Overall, Phillies relievers would only allow two singles and no walks, while striking out two batters (both by Neris) the rest of the way. Mike Morin, Ranger Suarez and Neris shut the door in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings. For Morin, it was his first hold with the Phillies and Suarez his second this season. Neris, meanwhile, notched his 20th save in 24 opportunities.

Like in the third inning, the Phillies offense would come alive in the seventh by producing another four-run frame to regain the lead and secure the club's 60th win of 2019. Rookie Adam Haseley, back after a very brief Triple-A stint, got the rally going with a leadoff infield single. Then, pinch-hitter Sean Rodriguez worked an eight-pitch walk, setting up nicely for Harper's second home run of the game and 22nd of the season, a 456-foot, three-run blast into McCovey Cove. The Harper home run came against Giants southpaw reliever Tony Watson, causing him to suffer his first loss and third blown save this season.

Hoskins would walk, followed by Dickerson singling, and two batters after catcher J.T. Realmuto produced a sacrifice fly RBI to right, the game's final run.

Game Notes:

  • Dickerson finished 3-for-5 with one run scored and three RBI, improving his season slash to .324/.374/.581. In six games and 21 at-bats with the Phillies, the seven-year veteran now has three runs scored, eight hits, two home runs, seven RBI, no walks and just five strikeouts.
  • Smyly's final line (no-decision): 5 2/3 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 4 SO, 3 HR, 98 pitches, 61 strikes
    • Overall with Phillies (4 starts): 23 2/3 IP, 19 H, 12 R, 10 ER, 7 BB, 24 SO, 4 HR, 3.80 ERA
  • Realmuto swiped multiple bases (2), becoming the only MLB catcher to do so this season in a game; as NBC Sports Philadelphia Corey Seidman notes, he is only the second Phillies catcher in 46 years with a two-steal game.
  • Bryce Bits
    • Harper logged his first multi-home run game with the Phillies, and the 18th of his career (17 2-HR games and one 3-HR game).
    • Overall in the game, batting leadoff, Harper went 2-for-4 with three runs scored, two home runs, four RBI, one walk and two strikeouts.
    • In his five starts and 19 at-bats batting first in the order this season. Harper has produced six runs scored, seven hits, three home runs,  seven RBI, four walks and five strikeouts.
  • Prior to the game, the Phillies placed OF Jay Bruce on the 10-day injured list with a left flexor strain, suffering the injury on a throw back into the infield during Thursday's series opener loss to the Giants. It was just Bruce's first game back from the injured list. After being sent down when Bruce was activated, Haseley was quickly recalled, and went 1-for-4 with a run scored and two strikeouts in Friday's 9-6 win as the starting center fielder.
  • Making just his second career start as a cleanup hitter, Segura went 1-for-4 with a double, his 24th, and one RBI.
  • Segura made a great diving stop up the middle for the game's final out, throwing out Posey at first base.

  • During the game, Jon Morosi reported that the Phillies signed RHP Nick Vincent to a minor-league contract; Vincent posted a 5.58 ERA over 18 appearances this season with the Giants.
  • Thanks to the Mets' improbable comeback against the Washington Nationals, the Phillies were at one point Friday evening in fourth place in the National League East. The Mets scored four runs in the ninth, securing their 14th win in their last 15 games. The Phillies' win on Friday put them back tied for third place.

What's Next:

  • Saturday, August 10, 2019: vs. San Francisco Giants, 4:05 p.m.
    • Oracle Park, San Francisco, Calif.
    • RHP Vince Velasquez (4-6, 4.23 ERA) vs. RHP Jeff Samardzija (8-9, 3.70 ERA)
    • TV: NBCSP, FS1; Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP
  • Sunday, August 11, 2019: vs. San Francisco Giants, 7:05 p.m.
    • Oracle Park, San Francisco, Calif.
    • RHP Jake Arrieta (8-8, 4.41 ERA) vs. LHP Conner Menez (0-1, 5.73 ERA)
    • TV: ESPN; Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP

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