BOSTON – The innings added up. The Phillies had scored three runs in the first frame of the Tuesday's win against the Red Sox, but after four innings on Wednesday, they still had to return to the board.
That is, until Bryce Harper hit the plate in
BOSTON – The innings summed up. The Phillies had scored three runs in the first frame of the Tuesday's win against the Red Sox, but after four innings on Wednesday they had to return to the board first.
That is, until
In the semi-finals on Wednesday, Harper had never recorded a hit against Red Sox starter
That changed the bat in one fell swoop – a monster with two turns. After seeing three fastballs with four rafts (and two dirty), Harper rocked a 377-foot glider above the green monster's victory in the fifth field of the fifth inning of the Phillies' 5-2 in the left field.
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The Phillies improved to 66-60 and won six of their last eight games. They remain 1 1/2 games back for second place in the National League Wild Card.
"He's the guy on the team," said Phillies Starter
Including his first innings on Wednesday, Harper had beaten three of his eight bats against Porcello. The Red Sox had a strategy to counteract the fierce Harper, and it did not go as planned.
"Yes, it should be backdoor," said Porcello. "Got it out on the first hit and it hit a good punch on it, it was a bit lower than we would like to throw in. We had a good, cheap count and we had some options we could have I have a few places wasted, asked, done different things, we started it and he did it, it was a good swing, I just had to be a better place. "
The close-up shot was Harper's 22nd home game in an interleague contest third in eleven games against the Red Sox. On June 8, 2012, as a member of the Nationals, he strapped on his only other Homer at Fenway Park. Harper got up close at the season opener in Boston, but Mookie Betts stole the Bullpen with an outstanding midfield win.
There were fans in the crowd who were trying to distract Harper from snapping this Fenway Park homer strip as well. Harper faced Boos during Boston's two-game series, and his ability to block out the noise and go to court for his 27th home game of the season was highlighted by Phillies manager Gabe Kapler.
"I thought that was really interesting: There were a few hecklers," Kapler said. "I do not know if they were Red Sox [fans] or who they were, but they were pretty much on him until then, which was a pretty explosive moment for the dugout party."
The Phillies are 59-33 when they hit at least one homer. When it comes to their homerun leader, they are 19-6 when Harper throws one out of the park. And these games add up quickly. Harper has been in four of his last seven contests with 12 RBIs in that time.
"Really happy that Bryce is coming out big at the moment," said Kapler.
Jessica Camerato is a reporter / editor for MLB .com based in Boston. Follow her on Twitter @jessicacamerato .