He stood and watched. The fans scattered throughout the stands froze in disbelief. Was this really happening?
Indeed it was.
With the Phillies dead – there’s no other word, they were dead – Bryce Harper authored one of the greatest moments in recent Phillies lore. Once down 5-1 heading into the ninth, the Phillies pulled to within 5-3. With the bases loaded and one out, the third Cubs pitcher of the inning – lefty Derek Holland – tried to squeeze a 2-2 sinker inside.
It didn’t work.
Harper simply unloaded a mammoth home run to the upper deck of a now-frenzied Citizens Bank Park. He sped around the bases, anxious to join his delirious teammates awaiting him at home plate. He was mauled by the Phillies, who pulled off their fourth sweep of the season. The victory served notice to the National League that they are not going away lightly as they pursue a wildcard berth.
“That was sick . . . wow,” a drenched Harper told NBC Sports Philadelphia after the game. “I don’t even know . . . that was awesome. I don’t even know what to say right now. I’m just so happy we won that game . . . It’s huge for us.”
The ninth inning started with an innocent fly out by Jean Segura. As the cars in the parking lot headed toward the exit gates, Cesar Hernandez reached on an error by shortstop David Bote. Scott Kingery then singled, and Brad Miller did the same to make it 5-2.
Roman Quinn singled to score Kingery, and the score was 5-3. Rhys Hoskins, mired in the worst slump of his career, was hit by a pitch on the hand. The Cubs went with Holland to face Harper. On a count of 2-2, Harper singlehandedly sent millions of Philadelphians to bed happy with his 25th home run and 84th through 87th RBIs:
— Phillies Nation (@PhilliesNation) August 16, 2019
The Phillies bullpen deserved a major shoutout. After a subpar effort by starting pitcher Drew Smyly put them in a 5-0 hole after five, Juan Nicasio and Ranger Suarez both delivered two shutout innings to at least give the Phillies a fighting chance.
Before the game, for the first time in what seemed like ages, fans at Citizens Bank Park were abuzz as they anticipated the newly fueled Phillies offense. Would the home guys be able to piggyback last night’s win that coincided with Charlie Manuel’s first official game as the team’s new hitting coach?
It took a long time, but they – somehow – managed to do just that by a 7-5 score, thus improving their record to 63-58 while dropping the Cubs to 64-57.
The Phillies fell behind in the third inning, suffered an implosion in the fourth, and appeared listless. Anthony Rizzo’s 22nd home run with one out in the third started the scoring. Chicago scored three more in the third when Ian Happ led off with a triple off the right field fence and scored on Bote’s double in the left-center gap. Albert Almora Jr. added an RBI single and reached third thanks to Segura’s 15th error. Rizzo then slapped a run-scoring single to make it 4-0.
The Cubs Kyle Schwarber ended an 0-for-10 slump when he smashed his 100th career homer and 28th of the season with one out in the fifth, a towering blast that landed behind the center field trees. In the bottom half, the Phillies put runners at first and second with one out and an overdue Hoskins batting. Inexplicably, recent acquisition Logan Morrison was caught napping at first on a snap pick-off throw by Cubs catcher Victor Caratini. Hoskins popped out on a 3-1 pitch to end the threat.
The Phillies ended the shutout bid in the eighth. Roman Quinn led off with a double – thus finally elevating his average past .200 (now at .212 after going 2-2), and Hoskins walked. With two outs and runners on second and third, cleanup hitter Corey Dickerson singled to right. Quinn scored, but Hoskins was thrown out at the plate.
Wearing their powder blue uniforms, the Phillies stranded base runners in the first, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and eighth innings. Just 24 hours removed from bashing three homers and three doubles and walking four times, and batting 5-8 with runners in scoring position in eight innings during an 11-run, 13-hit ambush, the Phillies looked like they had quickly reverted back to their lazy offensive habits.
But in one inning, and especially on one swing, Harper changed all of that.
The Phillies will host Manny Machado and the San Diego Padres for the next three games. After an off day, they visit the Boston Red Sox for two games. Following a Thursday off day, they finish the brief road trip with a three-game set in Miami against the last-place Marlins.
Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Performance
Phillies – Drew Smyly (2-6, 7.09 overall; 1-1, 4.71 in five games with the Phillies) was easy prey on for the hungry Cubs, surrendering seven hits, five earned funs and two walks while striking out six. He lasted five innings and 87 pitches, 56 of which for strikes.
Cubs – Yu Darvish didn’t dominate at any stretch, but his numbers (seven shutout innings, four hits and no walks, 10 strikeouts) were excellent as he lowered his ERA to 4.21.
Phillies Nuggets Player of the Game: Bryce Harper
For his approximate three-minute at bat, Harper showed why Philadelphians were so darn excited when they found out he was going to wear Phillies pinstripes. He carried his teammates on his broad shoulders, his grand slam literally an epic memory for all those who witnessed it.
TicketIQ Next Game
- Friday, August 16, 7:05 vs. San Diego Padres at Citizens Bank Park
- TV: NBC 10
- Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP; WTTM 1680 (Spanish)
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