MIAMI — The loudest sound inside the Miami Marlins‘ almost empty home ballpark Wednesday night was the steady drumming of rain pelting the retractable roof.
Then Bryce Harper came to the plate in the top of the sixth inning.
The Phillies slugger squared up a full-count changeup from Miami starter Edward Cabrera. The ball came off Harper’s bat with a loud crack at 109 mph and sailed on a line over the wall in left-center. Two pitches later, J.T. Realmuto homered to center against Cabrera and the Phillies were on their way to a 6-1 win in front of a crowd that might have been half the announced 5,642.
Before Harper’s 100th homer as a Phillie, the team had been held scoreless and to one hit by Cabrera. Harper’s homer was the first of four hits by the Phillies in the inning. In addition to the solo homers by Harper and Realmuto, the Phillies got a ringing RBI double from Jean Segura against reliever Richard Bleier.
An inning later, Realmuto hit his second homer of the game, a three-run shot to right, to give the Phils a five-run lead. In his last 21 games, the Phillies catcher has 12 extra-base hits, including five homers, and 22 RBIs.
Kyle Gibson survived four singles and a run in the first inning on his way to six innings of one-run ball and his 10th win. Gibson allowed just two hits after the first inning, walked none and struck out seven.
Zach Eflin pitched the eighth inning and retired the side in order in his first work since June 25. He had been sidelined since then with right knee soreness. Eflin struck out one and his fastball reached 94 mph. He could be a weapon for the club over the final three weeks and beyond.
The victory allowed the Phillies to take another step toward their first postseason berth in a decade. They control the second National League wild-card spot with 20 games to play. Their lead over San Diego is 2½ games. They lead Milwaukee, the last team out by at least 3½, depending on the result of the Brewers-Cardinals game.
Things are looking good for the Phillies.
However, the good vibes of Wednesday night’s win were tempered as the team awaited word on the condition of slugger Rhys Hoskins, who was hit on the right hand by a pitch in the top of the third inning. Hoskins stayed in the game and played defensively at first base in the bottom of the inning before exiting in the fourth inning. The initial word was a bruise, but X-rays were being taken. (Check back for updates.)
The Phillies have been hit hard by hand injuries this season. Harper missed two months with a broken left thumb. Segura missed two months with a broken right index finger. Losing Hoskins with three weeks to go in the regular season would be a huge blow. He ranks second on the team in homers (28) and OPS (.809) and third in RBIs (71).
The last two seasons have ended prematurely for Hoskins because of injuries. He tore a ligament in his left elbow making a defensive play at first base in Miami in September 2020. That injury required surgery. Last season, he did not play after August 25 because of an abdominal tear that also required surgery.
The victory improved the Phillies to 12-6 on the season against their former tormentors from Miami. The Phils have won five straight series against the Marlins and will go for a three-game sweep behind Noah Syndergaard on Thursday night.
The Phillies have won five in a row and seven of their last eight. They are 29-13 against the NL East since June 15 and 58-33 since Rob Thomson took over as manager on June 3.