harper back

Phils Win First Game With Harper Back

The Phillies continued their torrid stretch by taking the first game of a three-game set against the Pirates at home. Not only was it their fifth straight victory after sweeping the Reds, but it was an impressive showing in the first game back for Bryce Harper.

The Phillies came out like gangbusters on Friday night, putting up six runs in the first two innings. They lit up Pirates starter Bryse Wilson for four runs, three earned, in only 1.0 inning of work. Every member of the starting lineup aside from J.T. Realmuto collected at least one base hit, while Rhys Hoskins, Alec Bohm and Nick Castellanos produced multi-hit efforts.

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With ace Zack Wheeler on the shelf with forearm tendinitis, swingman Bailey Falter got the nod and performed admirably. The 25-year-old southpaw put together a quality start, yielding three earned runs on five hits over 6.0 innings, while punching out six Pirates. Connor Brogdon continued his recent struggles in the seventh inning, giving up a run on two hits and a walk, while only collecting one out. However, the rejuvenated José Alvarado was able to stop the bleeding, recording two outs on only two pitches to end the frame. David Robertson pitched a clean eighth, while Brad Hand earned his fifth save of the season with a perfect ninth to finish off the 7-4 victory.

Not only does Friday’s win further solidify the Phils as a legitimate playoff team, but it showcases a fully operational Phillies squad. The first game back for Harper showed he hasn’t missed a beat, as the reigning MVP laced a two-RBI single into right field in his first big league plate appearance in over two months. The addition of one of the most potent bats in the game to a Phillies’ lineup that’s already clicking on all cylinders will make this team a true contender come October.

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