Harper’s home run helps Phillies to 5-4 win over Nationals
WASHINGTON (AP) — Bryce Harper’s solo home run in the eighth inning against his former team was the difference in the Philadelphia Phillies’ 5-4 victory against the Washington Nationals on Tuesday night.
Harper hit a 430-foot home run to left-center off Javy Guerra, his 17th, for a 5-2 lead.
The Phils held on for their third consecutive victory to push their record back above .500 at 54-53. They are now 1 1/2 games behind the division-leading New York Mets, who lost again to Miami on Tuesday.
Philadelphia starter Zack Wheeler (9-6) gave up a two-run homer to Josh Bell in the eighth. Wheeler was pushed a night after the Phillies used most of their bullpen to get through a 7-5 victory. Wheeler allowed eight hits and four earned runs in 7 1/3 innings.
Jean Segura, J.T. Realmuto and Ronald Torreyes also homered for the Phillies.
Jose Alvardo pitched the ninth for his fourth save because Philadelphia manager Joe Girardi did not want to use closer Ian Kennedy for a third consecutive night. Kennedy was acquired from Texas before the trading deadline.
“I just was not comfortable putting him in,” Girardi said, noting Kennedy also warmed up 1 1/2 times on Saturday.
Wheeler controlled the first 5 2/3 innings with crisp fastballs. He struck out eight, didn’t allow a hit until the fifth and generally looked like the NL strikeout leader. He and his teammates are aware of what’s happening in the division.
“We’re getting there,” Wheeler said. “These are games that we need to win. We’re keeping track. Hopefully, we can continue this.”
Washington starter Patrick Corbin (6-10) allowed Segura’s homer on his first pitch, but matched Wheeler for the most part. It was Segura’s third leadoff homer this season and the 12th of his career.
Corbin ran into trouble in the seventh. Realmuto’s 12th homer of the season snuck over the wall in right-center. Alec Bohm walked and Torreyes hit his fifth homer on the first pitch he saw. Corbin’s velocity dropped from 95 to 92 and the Phillies took a 4-0 lead.
Corbin pitched seven innings, allowed six hits, four earned runs, struck out eight and walked one. His ERA is 5.74.
“Take away the seventh inning, in the (final) line, and I thought that’s the best he’s thrown the ball all year,” Nationals manager Davey Martinez said. “I mean, his slider was phenomenal. If he can continue to do that, we’re going to win some games behind him.”
Washington pushed across a run in the seventh after Yadiel Hernandez and Carter Kieboom opened with singles. Gerardo Parra’s pinch-hit single drove in Kieboom to pull the Nationals to 4-2. Andrew Stevenson’s hard lineout ended the inning.
The Nationals (49-58) are a season-worst nine games under .500.
Nationals: C René Rivera (right elbow contusion) was placed on the 10-day injured list. Rivera is unable to throw. Riley Adams, who was acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays in a trade for closer Brad Hand, was called up from Triple-A Rochester. The Nationals also called up veteran RHP Guerra.
Phillies: RHP Connor Brogdon (elbow tendinitis) was placed on the 10-day injured list. Brogdon has soreness in his upper right forearm, but the Phillies don’t believe there are any structural issues. RHP Mauricio Llovera was called up from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. The Phillies also released veteran reliever Brandon Kintzler.
RHP Chase Anderson (2-4, 6.75 ERA) is on the mound for the Phillies against RHP Paolo Espino (3-2, 3.08) in game three of the four-game series.
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