Aaron Nola had no chance at seeing where the ball landed.
Not many did, unless you were a fan leisurely strolling through the center-field concourse and enjoying the amenities of Ashburn Alley at Citizens Bank Park.
"I think it went over the stadium, from where I was sitting," Nola said. "It was a long one."
That's how powerfully Bryce Harper struck his first-inning home run in the Phillies' 2-1 win over the Rockies (see observations). The ball left his bat at 114.1 miles per hour, traveled 466 feet and cleared the brick walls in center field.
It was loud and it made the sellout crowd of 42,354 fans louder.
"I think just as a fan, you just stop and watch the distance of the ball," manager Gabe Kapler said. "I don't think we saw a ball go that far to center field all year last year and certainly not this year. That's rare territory. Pretty impressive."
Harper pounced on a first-pitch fastball from Rockies right-hander Antonio Senzatela. The swing consisted of everything you want to see from Harper, who is 5 for 15 (.333) over his last four games with the homer and three doubles.
He's staying back and driving the ball.
"I think he's beginning to feel it," Kapler said. "I think part of that comes from the work he's been doing with [hitting coach] John Mallee, specifically being a little bit taller on his backside and his hands being a little bit closer to his body."
Harper didn't want to make too much about the distance of his home run. He remembered some advice from a former manager and five-time All-Star.
"Matt Williams always used to tell me, 'It's not how far, it's how many you hit,'" Harper said. "I'm just trying to go about it the right way every single day, doing things out there that help this team win. Just putting the bat to the ball and trying to win games.
Harper has eight home runs and 28 RBIs in 45 games. He has a .371 on-base percentage and is second in baseball to only Mike Trout with 34 walks.
However, he's hitting .230 and was 10 for his last 70 (.143) prior to this 5-for-15 stretch. The Phillies are seeing positive signs, though, from Harper's swing.
"We all believed he was going to break out of what he was in," Nola said. "Guy works hard, works hard at what he does. We've all seen what he's done in his career. Nobody is pressing over him, we know he's the gamer that he is and he does a lot to help the team.
On Saturday, it was a walk, a double and vicious contact on the first pitch he saw.
"I think Harp is best when he's gap to gap," Kapler said. "Every once in a while, he's out in front and pulls the ball down the line. He's at his best when he's hitting high line drives into the gaps, and the ones that he gets just underneath go into the seats or in this case, over everything in center field."
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