PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Bryce Harper’s hot streak of late has kept the Phillies in the playoff picture. He has opened some eyes with his offense — especially the comically oversized ones of the Phillie Phanatic mascot strapped to the slugger’s forehead.
Harper tied the game while wearing a Phillie Phanatic headband with an RBI single and Rhys Hoskins ripped a two-RBI single in the seventh inning to rally Philadelphia to a 7-6 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday.
“I got three of them the other day and thought I’d wear it today,” Harper said of his headwear.
All eyes have been on Harper this season since he signed a $330 million, 13-year free-agent contract before the season. Harper ingratiated himself with his new team on opening day when he wore Phanatic cleats . He took Phanatic fashion to the next level when he wrapped himself with a headband that sported the mascot’s eyes on top of the slugger’s own. Phillies fans went wild in the seventh when Harper’s helmet flew off on a headfirst slide into second on the tying hit, the furry Phanatic taking top billing under the cap.
Hoskins delivered in the next at-bat when he ripped one to right off Joe Kelly to cap a four-run seventh for the Phillies and a 7-5 lead.
Harper said he decided to make a fashion statement simply because of the heat on a steamy, rainy day. He has been hot at the plate, too: Harper went 6 for 13 with three doubles, one home run and seven RBIs in four games against the Dodgers and is batting .413 (33 for 80) with 14 extra-base hits and 47 RBIs this season with runners in scoring position. He beat the Dodgers with a double on Tuesday night.
“We’re going to lean on him,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “We’ve leaned on him all season long and we’re going to continue to lean on him, both the emotional, fiery leader that he is and the producer that he is at the plate.”
Phillies closer Hector Neris, pitching while appealing a three-game suspension for intentionally throwing a pitch in the area of the head of David Freese, gave up a solo homer to Alex Verdugo in the ninth to make it 7-6. But he got the final out for his 18th save.
Neris gestured toward the Dodgers’ dugout and appeared to curse in their direction after closing out the win.
“I think we played this game, this series the right way. Played it straight,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “So to look in our dugout and to taunt in any way, I think it’s unacceptable. For our guys, who just play the game to win and play it straight and clean … last game of the series, to look in our dugout, I think that exceeds the emotion. Look in your own dugout. So I think our guys took it personal. I took it personal.”
Ranger Suarez (2-0) pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings in relief to help the Phillies split the series with the Dodgers. Dylan Floro (4-3) took the loss in relief.
Enrique Hernandez homered twice and Matt Beaty also went deep to stake the Dodgers to a lead again on the strength of the long ball. The Dodgers hit a whopping 15 homers in the series.
The Dodgers also continued their recent slate of lengthy games. They played for 5 hours, 40 minutes Sunday night in a 12-inning victory over Boston and beat the Phillies 7-2 after a lengthy rain delay pushed the end of Wednesday night’s game close to 2 a.m. Thursday. Rain arrived again in the early innings of this one but there was no delay, just a game that dragged to the 3:27 mark.
“We’re tired, they’re tired, and we were able to go out there and get that split,” Harper said.
Beaty and Hernandez hit back-to-back homers off Phillies ace Aaron Nola in the second inning for a 2-1 lead and Hernandez connected off Nola again in the fourth on a two-run shot that gave the Dodgers a 4-3 lead.
Dodgers: Closer Kenley Jansen was available after taking a grounder off his foot in the ninth inning Tuesday. … LHP Rich Hill played catch for the first time since he left his June 19 start with strained left flexor tendon.
Dodgers starter Kenta Maeda, who pitched two scoreless innings Wednesday night before the rain delay, will start Tuesday against the Angels. He could pitch in relief on Friday or Saturday against the Marlins.
Hernandez had his first career four-hit game.
Adam Haseley hit his first career home run in the second inning off Dodgers starter Ross Stripling.
This was the first live-streaming game on YouTube, and 98,208 fans watched the first pitch for free on the video-sharing website. The site said 197,098 people were “watching now” when Jean Segura pulled the Phillies to 5-4 with an RBI single in the seventh, and the total remained steady at 200,000-plus fans until the final out. The MLB Game of the Week Live on YouTube package includes free live broadcasts of 13 games during the second half of the regular season.
Dodgers: The Dodgers send LHP Hyun-Ji Ryu (10-2, 1.78 ERA) to the mound Friday when they open a three-game series against Miami.
Phillies: The Phillies start RHP Jake Arrieta (8-7, 4.54 ERA) when they open a three-game series in Pittsburgh.
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