Harper, Phils win 7th in a row, hand Brews 6th straight loss
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber and Odúbel Herrera homered as interim manager Rob Thomson and the streaking Philadelphia Phillies won their season-high seventh straight game, beating the sagging Milwaukee Brewers 8-3 on Thursday.
At 6-0, Thomson is off to the best start by a first-time major league manager since Boston’s Joe Morgan won his first 12 games in 1988, the Elias Sports Bureau said.
“We just got to keep going,” Harper said, “doing the things we’re doing, playing the game the right way, not overlook anybody that we play and just take it one game at a time.”
The NL Central-leading Brewers lost their season-worst sixth in a row.
“We just can’t get anything going, unfortunately,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “You get kind of knocked down, and you got to grind through it and keep going.”
It was the second consecutive three-game sweep for the Phillies under Thomson. He took over last Friday after manager Joe Girardi was fired, and Philadelphia swept the Los Angeles Angels before heading to Milwaukee.
Didi Gregorius singled, tripled, doubled and drove in a run for Philadelphia.
Andrew McCutchen singled home a run in the ninth to pull Milwaukee within five runs. With two on and two outs, Jace Peterson then was initially ruled safe on an RBI single, but was called out after a replay reversal.
Reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes (3-4) and Phillies starter Zach Eflin were both out of the game by the end of the fifth.
“Being able to get Corbin out of there in the fifth inning at 100 or whatever pitches he threw, I thought we battled as best we could and got into their bullpen as best as we could,” Harper said. “To be able to come here and sweep in their ballpark, that’s huge for us.”
Thomson agreed with Harper about the importance of chasing Burnes, who threw a season-high 113 pitches, 67 for strikes.
“The biggest thing was that we just laid out good at bats on Burnes and put his pitch count way up there and got him out of the game,” Thomson said. “Then, they got to use the weaker part of the bullpen.”
Harper homered for the second straight day, connecting off Brad Boxberger for his 15th of the season, a solo drive in the seventh for a 4-2 lead.
Schwarber hit his 15th home run, a two-run drive off Trevor Kelley in the eighth. Herrera, who homered in a 10-0 romp Wednesday night, added a two-run drive in the ninth.
Hunter Renfroe and Willy Adames homered for Milwaukee.
Seranthony Dominguez (3-1) pitched one inning for the win.
“The bullpen did a great job all the way through,” Thomson said of the five relievers he used in the game.
Eflin walked three to snap his streak of 33 consecutive starts with two walks or fewer since Aug. 29, 2020. He allowed a run and four hits in four innings.
“All sides of the ball, everybody is playing well,” Eflin said. “The boys did a great job of picking me up today.”
Burnes walked a career-high four and gave up three runs, one of them earned, and three hits in 4 1/3 innings. He struck out eight and left after throwing a season-high 113 pitches.
“I think both starting pitchers had the same same day, really,” Counsell said. “I think the hitters did a pretty good job on both sides. I think there was a ton of close pitches that didn’t get called strikes and extended innings.”
Phillies: RHP Zack Wheeler is scheduled to come off the paternity list and start Saturday’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. … LHP Ryan Sherriff and LHP Kent Emanuel will begin rehab assignments with Clearwater (A) tonight.
Brewers: Adames started at short for the second straight game after being reinstated Friday from the 10-day injured list (high left ankle sprain). He went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts in his return. … C Omar Narváez should come off the injured list (COVID-19) soon. “He’s been cleared,” Counsell said. “So, he will fly with us to Washington.” Narváez was placed on the list June 2.
HARPER BY THE BOOK
Since 2021, the Phillies are 75-34 in games when Harper scores at least one run, including 20-9 in those games this year.
He now has a NL-best 35 extra-base hits.
Phillies: RHP Kyle Gibson (3-2, 4.40 ERA) opens the three-game home series against RHP Zac Gallen (4-1, 2.40) and the Diamondbacks.
Brewers: LHP Aaron Ashby (1-4. 3.13 ERA) takes the mound in the opener of a three-game road series against Erick Fedde (3-4, 4.88) and the Washington Nationals.
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