Harper’s grand slam keys Phillies’ 11-1 rout of Cardinals

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              Philadelphia Phillies' Bryce Harper watches his grand slam during the second inning of the team's baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals, Tuesday, May 7, 2019, in St. Louis.(AP Photo/Tom Gannam)
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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Philadelphia’s Bryce Harper looks like he’s starting to find his groove at the plate.

Harper, hit a grand slam, his first with the Phillies, and Rhys Hoskins added four hits, including a homer, to spark Philadelphia to an 11-1 rout of the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night.

Harper entered the game hitting .226.

“The last two weeks or whatever it is, like I’ve said all along, I’ve missed pitches over the plate and swung at balls out of the zone,” Harper said. “On any given night, I got out there and try to do the best I can.”

Harper’s homer capped a six-run second inning. Philadelphia took advantage of two errors and two walks as all six runs were unearned.

Philadelphia manager Gabe Kapler liked what he saw from Harper.

“Bryce looked a little more relaxed,” Kapler said. “Bat flew through the zone on that slider obviously on the grand slam. He looked more at ease. He was letting it go.”

Aaron Nola (3-0) allowed three hits in six innings, giving up one run. He struck out seven.

“As the game went on, I was getting first-pitch strikes,” Nola said. “When you get up 6-0, you can’t let up on the gas. You have to keep pitching.”

Dakota Hudson (2-3) gave up eight runs in five innings.

Hoskins also had a double among his four hits. His solo homer came in the ninth inning.

Odubel Herrera led off with a double and went to third on a passed ball. Cesar Hernandez walked. Maikel Franco grounded to second, scoring Herrera. Kolten Wong’s throw to shortstop Paul DeJong was first called an out at second. The Phillies challenged and won. Wong was given a throwing error. First baseman Paul Goldschmidt fielded Nola’s bunt and threw wildly to third, scoring Hernandez. Andrew McCutchen drew a walk to load the bases.

St. Louis manager Mike Shildt didn’t like how the Cardinals played in the second.

“That’s by far the worst inning and clearly, uncharacteristic,” Shildt said. “Want to apologize for it, no excuses on our end. Not taking anything away from Philadelphia. They clearly played a nice game but that’s definition of us beating ourselves.”

With one out, Harper deposited a 2-1 Hudson pitch deep into the right field bullpen for his fourth career grand slam. His last came on April 19, 2017, against Atlanta.

“Pretty cool,” Harper said.

Not to Hudson.

“Hung one pitch,” Hudson said. “It just kind of floated and he got a good barrel to it.”

Harper, who finished 2-for-3 with a walk before being lifted in the eighth, has hit well at Busch Stadium. In 21 career games, he is hitting .315 with six homers and 17 RBI.

Kapler said Harper has a history of overcoming a slow start.

“Knowing that he went through one similar in 2015 and he ended up winning the MVP award tells me how resilient he is,” Kapler said. “Watching him go through it here, he never changes his work. He brings the highest work ethic and intensity on a nightly basis.”

ON THE ICE

The St. Louis Blues were playing a second-round winner-take-all Game 7 against Dallas down the street. With the Cardinals getting blown out early, fans reacted loudly to the first Blues goal. The Busch Stadium organist played the Blues theme and the fans began to chant “Let’s Go Blues” to it.

HOME SWEET HOME

St. Louis shortstop Paul DeJong singled in the sixth to give him a hit in all but one of his 18 homes games. He is hitting .391 at Busch.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Phillies: Relief pitcher David Robertson (right elbow soreness) still has yet to throw a baseball but he’s getting close. “Robertson is doing gripping exercises, progressing well. Perfect world, he’s playing catch by week’s end,” Philadelphia manager Gabe Kapler.

Cardinals: RHP Carlos Martinez (right shoulder cuff strain) headed Tuesday to Triple-A Memphis. He will pitch Wednesday night. “We’d like him to get more than six (pitches),” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. “We’d like him to get six and then we’d like him to go back out and get some more.” In pitching Sunday at Class A Peoria, Martinez threw only six pitches to get three outs. “If he doesn’t get more than 10 in the first inning, he’ll probably go back out and get another 10. I don’t think we’re quite at the 30-mark.”

UP NEXT

Phillies: RHP Jerad Eickhoff (1-1, 2.05) did not figure in the decision in his last start against Washington. He struck out seven to give him 27 in 22 innings through four appearances (including three starts) this season.

Cardinals: RHP Jack Flaherty (3-2, 4.17) lost in his last start at Wrigley Field against the Chicago Cubs. He earned his first major league win with a 13-strikeout masterpiece in a 5-1 win over Philadelphia last May 20.