Bryce Harper lost his helmet somewhere on the basepath as he bulldozed his way from a lazy hit into a hard-charging, head-first, hair-flowing double.
Harper’s homers continue to wow the crowd. Harper’s hustle may be more fun to watch.
“I think that type of effort-level is uncommon in a superstar of Bryce’s caliber,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. “It’s not often you see that combination of talent, grit, determination and all-out, 100% hustle.”
Harper hit his 10th homer , his 200th career double and drove in four before fouling a ball off his foot and exiting in the fifth inning, and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the St. Louis Cardinals 11-4 following a rain delay Wednesday night.
The hot-hitting Harper had his second straight multihit, multi-RBI game against the Cardinals. He drove a two-run homer to left-center in the third and followed an inning later with a two-run hustle a double. Harper hit a chopper that rolled into right — and he kept motoring. He slid head-first to beat the tag and slapped his hands in celebration of the milestone hit.
“It was kind of a weak-kind of hit,” Harper said. “I was going to try and get out of the box as quick as possible.”
He had three hits when he left the game in the fifth inning after he fouled a ball off his right foot and the Phillies ahead by 10 runs. Harper said it was a precautionary move with the Phillies leading big and a day game ahead on Thursday.
Aaron Nola (6-0) struck out eight over seven innings, a needed lift to save a bullpen depleted by injuries. Scott Kingery and Maikel Franco hit back-to-back homers in the fifth, and Andrew McCutchen hit a two-run shot two batters later to blow the game open.
The Phillies played Genesis’ “I Can’t Dance” when the Cardinals took batting practice, and Genesis Cabrera quickly proved he was in too deep in his major league debut. The biggest smash hit? Harper crushed a no-doubt shot in the third that had the fans that waited out a 1-hour, 39-minute rain delay roaring as he rounded the bases.
Cabrera had already fallen into a hole in the first because of a stunning miscue in right field by Dexter Fowler. With runners on first and second, Rhys Hoskins hit a routine pop that Fowler stabbed at and missed . Cesar Hernandez made the Cardinals pay with a two-run single for the 2-0 lead. Fowler was with Colorado when he famously misplayed a ball in a gusty wind in Philly in the 2009 division series. Ten years later, the park still gives him fits.
Harper hit his 200th career double — he’s on pace for 50-plus this season — in the fourth inning, and the rout was underway.
“Every night we go out there, we do something special as a team,” Harper said.
Michael Wacha, who lost his spot in the rotation to Cabrera, had his rough season hit a new low: he gave up three home runs in the same inning and the Phillies took an 11-1 lead. McCutchen’s homer off Wacha made him 1 for 1 with four runs scored (he walked three times).
Matt Weiters homered for the Cardinals, who lost their third straight game and seven of their last 10.
“We’ve got to find a way to be better,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. “We’ll figure this out. We’re too good, too talented.”
Phillies: Placed LHP Adam Morgan on the 10-day injured list with a strained left forearm and recalled RHP Yacksel Rios from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Morgan pitched with a sore elbow for two weeks and made it worse warming up in the bullpen Tuesday night. … OF Roman Quinn, on the injured list since April 25 with a right groin strain, still has soreness and there is no timetable on a return. … RHP Edubray Ramos (right shoulder stiffness) and RHP Tommy Hunter (flexor strain) both threw bullpen sessions and could return in June. … RHP David Robertson could start throwing next week, with a potential June return. … RHP Victor Arano had arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow and there was no immediate timetable on his return.
RHP Nick Pivetta will start Sunday in Los Angeles. Pivetta (3-1) allowed three runs and three hits Wednesday against the Cardinals, striking out six in his first start since a demotion to Triple-A after posting an 8.35 ERA in his first four starts. Kapler did not say if Pivetta will keep a spot in the rotation beyond Sunday.
“He’s got to keep performing,” Kapler said.
RHP Dakota Hudson (3-3, 4.22 ERA) takes the mound for the Cardinals in the series finale Thursday against Phillies RHP Jerad Eickhoff (2-2, 3.86).
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