Bryce Harper keyed a 12-hit attack with three hits and four RBIs and Aaron Nola enjoyed another strong outing at Citizens Bank Park as the Phillies rolled past the St. Louis Cardinals, 11-4, on Wednesday night.
The victory was the Phillies’ second in as many games on the homestand and it improved them to a season-best 11 games over .500 at 33-22.
The Phils are 20-10 at home.
The Phils will look for a sweep of the Cardinals in the series finale Thursday afternoon. The Phils embark on a six-game West Coast trip after the game. First stop, Los Angeles, for three with the Dodgers. They have the best record in the National League. The Phillies have the second-best record.
• Overshadowed by the Phillies’ offensive explosion was Nola’s work on the mound. He gave up just four hits and a run over seven innings. He walked three and struck out eight. The only run that Nola allowed came on a solo homer by Matt Wieters in the fourth inning.
• Harper had three hits in four at-bats. He’s had trouble handling fastballs this season, but not in this game. He stroked a 97-mph fastball from lefty Genesis Cabrera for an opposite-field single in the first inning. He added a two-run double on a fastball from Michael Wacha in the fourth. Harper hustled his way to that double. It was the 200th of his career and he made it to second with a dive. In between the single and double, Harper clubbed a first-pitch slider from Cabrera for a homer in the third inning. It was his 10th of the season.
Harper did not pick up a strike out for just the second time in the last 18 games. He leads the majors with 75.
• The Phils hit four homers on the night, three in the fifth inning against Wacha. Scott Kingery and Maikel Franco went back-to-back. Andrew McCutchen added a two-run shot in that inning.
McCutchen scored four runs.
Harper fouled a ball off his right foot in the bottom of the fifth inning and was replaced by Nick Williams in the top of the sixth. Harper did not appear to be hurt. The Phillies were up by 10 runs and manager Gabe Kapler appeared to be giving him a rest.
Harper struck out three times in Milwaukee on Sunday. He has three doubles, a single and a homer in his next two games.
He cruised. He is 6-0 with a 4.18 ERA.
Nola’s ERA over his last seven starts is 2.70.
The Phils’ offense has given Nola 60 runs of support while he has been in the game. That’s some big run support.
Nola loves pitching at Citizens Bank Park. He is 21-5 in his last 36 starts at home.
Rookie reliever J.D. Hammer struck out two in the ninth.
Reliever Adam Morgan became the latest reliever to go down with a sore elbow (see story).
Rain, rain, what a pain
For the second night in a row, the start of the game was delayed by rain – one hour, 39 minutes worth. The start of Tuesday night’s game was delayed 50 minutes.
Jerad Eickhoff (2-2, 3.86) pitches against right-hander Dakota Hudson (3-3, 4.22) in the series finale Thursday afternoon.
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