Harper returns in style as Phillies win over Pirates

PHILADELPHIA — Bryce Harper singled in two runs in his first at-bat after missing 52 games with a broken left thumb, and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-4 on Friday night.

Harper was retired with two ground balls and a line drive in his other three at-bats. He was in his first game since San Diego Padres left-hander Blake Snell hit him in the hand with a pitch on June 25.

With no outs, the reigning NL MVP singled as the designated hitter and helped the Phillies earn their fifth straight win.

Philadelphia, 32-20 without Harper, was in second place going into the game for one of three NL wild-card spots.

Rhys Hoskins singled and doubled and drove in a run for the Phillies.

Bryan Reynolds, Ben Gamel and Rodolfo Castro homered for the Pirates, who have lost six straight and 12 in 14 games. Pittsburgh accumulates record of 47-78.

Harper warmed up by jogging to a raucous chorus of “come on, Harper” 25 minutes before first pitch. The ovation from the 30,546 people in the stadium was deafening when Harper was introduced 20 minutes later.

The cheer was even louder — many in the crowd rose to their feet and chanted “MVP” — when the player came to the plate with no outs and the bases loaded in the first inning.

On a 2-2 count, Harper lined Bryse Wilson (2-8) to right field for a two-run single.

Phillies starter Bailey Falter (2-3), substituting for injured right-hander Zack Wheeler, gave up three runs and five hits in six innings, striking out six and walking none. Brad Hand pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his fifth save.

For the Phillies, Dominican Jean Segura 4-2.

For the Pirates, the Dominicans Rodolfo Castro 4-2, one scored, one RBI, and Oneil Cruz 2-0.

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Harper returns in style as Phillies win over Pirates