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Harper ends home run drought as Phillies sweep doubleheader from Padres 6-4 and 9-4

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Bryce Harper ended the longest homerless streak of his major league career in the second game, and the Philadelphia Phillies swept a doubleheader from the San Diego Padres 6-4 and 9-4 on Saturday.

Harper connected on a curveball from left-hander Ryan Weathers (1-6), tying the score 1-1 in the fourth inning.

“That’s what he does,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said. “Everybody was excited.”

The ball was caught barehanded in the Philadelphia bullpen in center field by closer Craig Kimbrel.

Needing a healthy Kimbrel, Harper lightheartedly told his closer not to make a barehanded grab again.

“That was stupid,” Harper said, causing laughs among reporters. “I already talked to him. It was terrible. You can’t do that. I mean, nice catch but come on man.”

It was the fourth homer of the season for Harper, who made his season debut May 2 after recovering from Tommy John surgery. The home run was Harper’s first since May 25 at Atlanta against Dylan Dodd. He had gone 166 plate appearances without going deep.

“Everyone keeps talking about it, but it is what it is,” Harper said of the drought. “For me personally, keep hitting the baseball. Keep hitting it hard. I don’t go out there to hit homers. I don’t really try to hit homers. If you try to hit homers, it’s just not good.

“Put a really good swing on the ball tonight, and it was able to get out of there. Keep swinging and keep doing my thing.”

After San Diego took a 2-1 lead in the fifth, Kyle Schwarber put Philadelphia in front for good with a three-run homer in the bottom half.

“Those are two huge wins right there against a really good team,” Harper said. “Starting the break off on a good foot. Get another one tomorrow.”

Schwarber hit a tying home run in the seventh inning of the opener, a 440-foot drive, and drove in the go-ahead run with a single in the eighth off Tim Hill (1-3).

Johan Rojas had three hits and two RBIs in the second game after making a spectacular catch in the first inning of the opener in his major league debut.

Manny Machado hit his 300th home run in the first game, a solo drive in the eighth that put San Diego ahead 4-3. Harper tied it in the eighth with a pinch-hit RBI infield single to help the Phillies stop a three-game losing streak.

“This was a miserable day,” Padres manager Bob Melvin said.

Taijuan Walker (11-3) allowed two runs and four hits in five innings to win the second game.

Trent Grisham homered in the first game for the Padres, who were going for their season-best fourth win in a row.

Machado’s homer off Matt Strahm (6-3) leading off the eighth put the Padres up 4-3. The 31-year-old slugger has eight homers in July and 17 this season.

“What he’s done in the last couple of weeks has been pretty torrid,” Melvin said.

Kimbrel, in his first appearance since saving Tuesday’s All-Star Game, got his 15th save in as many tries by retiring Machado on a game-ending popout with two on.

“They just keep fighting,” Thomson said. “It’s the quality of character in the clubhouse. They never give up.”

Padres starter Blake Snell, in the final season of a $50 million, five-year contract, lowered his ERA to 2.71 while striking out seven, walking three and surrendering three hits in five scoreless innings. Snell was lifted after 82 pitches on a muggy, 90-degree afternoon.


Harper has been limited to batting this season. Thomson said before Friday’s game that Harper could be back in the field for the first time since April 2022, playing first base instead of his customary outfield position, but then said afterward that Harper would not play first against San Diego.

The 30-year-old Harper is in the fifth season of a $330 million, 13-year contract.


Rojas made a highlight-reel catch in the first inning in his big league debut, crashing into the wall to snare Fernando Tatis Jr.‘s drive to right-center and then firing to first to double off Ha-Seong Kim.

“It was incredible,” Rojas said through an interpreter. “Pretty special moment.”


Tatis “twisted his ankle” in the second game, Melvin said.

Tatis exited the game after popping out to first base in the sixth inning of the nightcap. Melvin indicated that Tatis injured his ankle earlier in the second game, possibly on Schwarber’s lineout to right in the third inning.

Tatis was drilled on the buttocks by a 98-mph fastball from Yunior Marte in the seventh of the opener, but stayed in the game and then started the nightcap.

Tatis finished the day 1 for 7 with three strikeouts.


Padres: Left-hander Adrian Morejon left the second game after appearing to injure his right knee trying to field Rojas’ RBI bunt single in the sixth inning. Melvin said Morejon would have further testing on his knee.

Phillies: Sosa also exited the nightcap with a cramp suffered while running the bases in the seventh. It was a rough inning for Sosa, who reached base after getting drilled in the right hand by a pitch from Brent Honeywell. Thomson does not believe either injury is serious.


The teams wrap up their four-game series on Sunday, when Padres RHP Seth Lugo (3-4, 3.39) opposes Phillies ace RHP Zack Wheeler (7-4, 4.05).


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