PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Bryce Harper hit an inside-the-park home run, three Philadelphia teammates went deep and Aaron Nola pitched seven strong innings to lead the Phillies to a 10-4 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Monday night in a matchup of teams leading the National League wild-card race.
Kyle Schwarber, Alec Bohm and Edmundo Sosa also homered for the Phillies, who moved three games ahead of the Giants in the wild-card standings.
“That’s a big first game of the first series,” Harper said. “That’s a good team over there, and we’re fighting for that (No. 1) spot.”
Harper electrified the crowd of 36,274 in the fifth inning. His drive off Sean Hjelle caromed hard off the high wall in left-center. When center fielder Wade Meckler finally chased down the ball in right-center, he twice failed to pick it up before throwing it toward home. It likely would’ve taken a perfect toss and relay to nab the speedy Harper.
“I saw J-Roll (Jimmy Rollins) do it, I saw (Chase) Utley do it a couple of times,” Harper said. “To be part of that is pretty cool.”
It was Harper’s 10th homer of the season and 295th career shot for the two-time NL MVP, whose power stroke has been returning the last two months after offseason Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. He also hit an inside-the-park homer in Philadelphia on July 27, 2021.
“Any time you hit a ball out that way you run as hard as you can just in case,” he said. “Pretty cool.”
LaMonte Wade Jr. and Joc Pederson homered for the Giants, who have lost four of five and 11 of 15.
“Don’t want to dwell on one (game), particularly one that didn’t go well,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said. “I don’t think there’s much to look back on, other than we probably don’t want to do it in the same way again in the next couple of games.”
San Francisco began play 1½ games ahead of three fourth-placed teams in the race for wild-card spots. Arizona, Cincinnati and Miami entered Monday chasing a playoff spot with 64-61 marks.
Nola (11-8) was hit hard early before settling down. He wound up allowing two runs on seven hits with five strikeouts and a walk.
“If you give him a second chance, he’s going to come back and punish you for it,” Kapler said.
Harper’s homer gave the Phillies a 6-2 lead, and they broke the game open with four runs in the seventh on Johan Rojas’ two-run triple and Schwarber’s two-run shot, a 444-foot drive to the second deck in right field. It was the 33rd homer of the season for Schwarber, who led the NL in homers last season with 46.
“Great game overall,” Nola said.
The Phillies went ahead in the second with a pair of runs off Sean Manaea (4-4), when Sosa connected on a 93-mph fastball into the Philadelphia bullpen in center. Bohm also hit a solo shot off Manaea an inning later. The Giants left-hander had gone 20 straight contests without allowing a home run before surrendering two against the Phillies. He gave up those three runs in 2 ⅔ innings in relief of opener Scott Alexander.
Bohm made a pair of stellar defensive plays at first base, diving to his left to rob Meckler of extra bases in the second and then laying out to his right in the fourth to take a hit away from Johan Camargo.
Trea Turner went to second base after singling in the first inning when Meckler didn’t cleanly field the hit to center field. Then, Meckler couldn’t hold Harper to a triple. Finally, left fielder Blake Sabol misread Rojas’ liner in the seventh, coming in on the ball that went over his head.
Kapler was booed when he removed Alexander in the first and again when he pulled Manaea in the fourth. Kapler was not popular in Philadelphia during his two seasons managing in the club in 2018 and ’19 in which he went 161-163.
Phillies: Left-handed reliever José Alvarado (left elbow inflammation) was activated from the 15-day IL, and RHP Luis Ortiz was optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Alvarado, sidelined since July 7, has a 1.38 ERA with 39 strikeouts in 26 innings over 26 outings.
Phillies RHP Taijuan Walker (13-5, 4.03) returns to the mound on Tuesday night after skipping a start to rest his arm following decreased velocity in the second contest of the three-game series. Prospect Kyle Harrison makes his MLB debut for San Francisco.