The moment every Phillie fan had been waiting for has finally arrived — on March 30th, 2019, Bryce Harper hit his first home run as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies.
To begin the day, the Phillies sent the highly anticipated breakout candidate, Nick Pivetta to the bump to face Braves’ rookie Bryse Wilson.
The game began rather shakily for the Phightin’s, as Ender Inciarte led the Braves off with a triple, and went on to score on a poked single against the shift by Freddie Freeman.
In the second inning, the Braves struck once again, this time on a two-run shot to left by Dansby Swanson — 3-0 Atlanta.
Yet, this blow did not go unanswered, as the Phillies responded in the bottom of the second with an RBI triple by Cesar Hernandez, plating Odubel Herrera to chip the Braves’ lead to 3-1.
After a scoreless third inning, the Phillies took their first lead of the night in the bottom of the fourth on a three run bullet by Maikel Franco that proceeded to ricochet off of the left field foul pole, making it 4-3 good guys.
The Braves then tied the game in the top of the fifth, resulting in the tugging of Nick Pivetta, who turned in a mediocre-at-best start. His command was fine, but he seemed to be misusing his pitches, letting too many breaking balls linger around the strike zone. He lasted a total of 4.2 innings, allowing 4 runs on 8 hits, and K’d 4.
Following Pivetta’s exit, however, the Braves could no longer contain Philadelphia. In the bottom of the fifth, JT Realmuto came to the rescue, smoking a two-run dinger to left center, his first as a Phillie. The home team took a 6-4 lead.
Fast-forward thru a scoreless sixth, and, within the confines of the seventh inning, greatness was achieved. Bryce Harper stepped up to the plate, facing Ex-Phillie Jesse Biddle, and smoked a 465-foot solo shot to the second deck in right field, sending Citizens Bank Park into a frenzy — and I do mean a frenzy. The stadium was quaking, the sound was deafening, and then, as if it were at all possible, the magnitude multiplied as Harper emerged from the dugout for his curtain call. It was a picture perfect moment.
The Phillies proceeded to extend their lead on a Maikel Franco bloop single that Freddie Freeman couldn’t seem to track, scoring Cesar Hernandez, and making it 8-4 Philadelphia.
David Robertson entered in the 9th inning to close out the game, but he ran into a spot of trouble, and allowed a late two-run shot to Charlie Culberson, cutting the Phillies lead down to 8-6.
Past that, there was no further trouble to speak of, and Robertson set the Braves down, bringing the game to a close.
Coming from somebody who watched this blockbuster of a game unfold in person, I can confidently say that this was this was one of the most memorable experiences I’ve ever had at Citizens Bank Park. The explosive offense, the milestone hits, and the electric crowd made this one a game to remember, and I know I’ll be saving my ticket stub ‘til the day I die.