The Phillies got off to a quick start in Wednesday night’s must-win game against the Washington Nationals.
Bryce Harper smacked a solo home run against right-hander Erick Fedde in the top of the first inning and the Phillies went on to rout the Nationals, 12-3, behind outstanding work by starting pitcher Zach Eflin.
The Phillies broke the game open completely with three-run homers from Didi Gregorius and Andrew Knapp in the ninth inning.
Harper's home run was a good thing on a couple of levels.
The Phils had lost four in a row to fall under .500 and off the National League playoff grid. They pretty much need to win their final four games and get some outside help to make the playoffs for the first time since 2011.
Harper’s homer was a step in the right direction as the Phils won the first of their final four and moved to 28-29 before they open a three-game series with the Rays on Friday.
The home run was also a step in the right direction personally for Harper. He’s been battling a bad back and entered the game hitless in his previous 14 at-bats. He had seven strikeouts in that span.
Harper served as the DH in the game. He hit an 0-1 fastball from Fedde. It came off the bat at 107 miles per hour and traveled 425 feet, no cheapie.
Harper then added another solo shot in the sixth inning to extend the Phillies' lead to 3-1.
Eflin threw eight innings of six-hit, three-run ball and struck out nine. He allowed a two-run homer to Juan Soto in the ninth inning as Joe Girardi turned to Connor Brogdon for the final three outs.