Harper homers twice, Nationals beat Phillies 7-3
Told his second homer of the game had travelled 473 feet, Harper replied: ”It’s not how far. It’s how many.”
He’s doing well on that score, too.
Harper opened the Washington first by lining a sinking fastball from Nick Pivetta (1-2) to the opposite field for his 11th homer of the season. With a runner on first in the third inning, Harper crushed a changeup to dead center as Washington won its sixth straight game.
Despite his latest game, with third baseman Anthony Rendon slated to return from the disabled list on Saturday, manager Dave Martinez wouldn’t commit to keeping Harper in the leadoff spot.
”We’ll see. I’ve got to sleep on it,” Martinez said. ”The good news is we’re getting Rendon back, and that’s good to see.”
With No. 9 hitter Wilmer Difo getting on base ahead of him and Trea Turner and Matt Adams connecting behind him, Harper is getting pitches to hit. He has four homers in four games as the leadoff batter, two to start the game.
Adams added a two-run home run – his fourth homer in his last four games – for Washington and made a leaping catch at the wall to rob Maikel Franco of at least extra bases if not a home run.
”It was just unreal. Not only is he hitting homers, he’s robbing homers,” winning pitcher Gio Gonzalez said. ”That guy’s doing it all.”
Gonzalez (4-2) worked five scoreless innings, allowing two hits with five strikeouts.
The game was delayed 39 minutes by rain in the bottom of the fourth.
Carlos Santana and Maikel Franco hit back-to-back homers in the sixth for the Phillies.
In the shortest of his 33 career starts, Pivetta allowed six runs on five hits and three walks in one inning plus three batters.
”I think he just kind of ran into a buzzsaw,” manager Gabe Kapler said. ”Some guys were swinging the bats really well and wasn’t able to climb out of it.”
Pivetta, who was acquired from the Nationals in the 2015 Jonathan Papelbon trade, is now 0-2 with an 11.81 ERA against the team that drafted him in 2013.
Odubel Herrera singled in the eighth-inning single to extend his on-base streak to 33 games. It’s the longest active streak in the majors, and ties Darin Ruf (2012-13) and Chase Utley for the fourth longest Phillies streak since 2005.
Phillies: Kapler said RHP Jerad Eickhoff (lat strain) threw as part of his rehabilitation Friday, while RHP Mark Leiter Jr. (forearm strain) will throw live batting practice Saturday. Both have been on the DL since March. … SS J.P. Crawford (right forearm strain) has resumed some defensive work but has not participated in other baseball activities since going on the DL Sunday.
Nationals: Rendon (toe contusion) went 3-for-4 with a double and played seven innings at third base in his second rehab game with Class A Potomac Friday night. . . RHP Shawn Kelley (right elbow irritation) and LHP Matt Grace (left groin strain) threw bullpen sessions Friday. Kelley will make a rehab appearance with Class A Potomac on Sunday and Grace will throw another bullpen this weekend. … Reliever Trevor Gott left the game with a sprained ankle after allowing three straight hits in the sixth.
Phillies: RHP Vince Velasquez (1-4, 5.70) is 1-2 with a 6.14 ERA in four starts versus the Nationals.
Nationals: RHP Tanner Roark (2-2, 3.55) is 6-6 with a 3.96 ERA in 17 games – 15 starts – against the Phillies.
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