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Bryce Harper Power Flashes

The Phillies celebrate Rob Thomson’s birthday by ending their three-game losing streak with a great showing by Bryce Harper.

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Toronto Blue Jays John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Phillies came into this game looking to end a three-game losing streak and avoid a two-game sweep to the Toronto Blue Jays.

Aaron Nola took the mound after going five good innings against the Nationals in his last start. He faces Kevin Gausman who’s coming off seven shutout innings against the Guardians in his last appearance.

We begin in the second where Nick Castellanos got the Phillies started with a leadoff double. Stott then tackled a 97 mph fastball to left that carried over the head of Whit Merrifield. Castellanos was going back to potentially tag so he couldn’t score.

After a Trea Turner walk and JT Realmuto strikeout, Jake Cave poked a down-and-away splitter into left to bring Castellanos home on a sacrifice fly. Johan Rojas grounded out so the Phillies had no outs and the bases loaded and only scored one.

If you thought it was immediately going to cost the Phillies, you’re not going to be surprised about the bottom half of the second. Cavan Biggio slapped a single and immediately picked the right pitch to steal second base, a down-and-away curveball.

After a flyball by Alejandro Kirk, Dalton Varsho mashes a full-count fastball to give the Blue Jays the lead.

Bryce Harper has had a tough season by his very high standards. He;s shown flashes of power but hasn’t been able to put it all together yet after having Tommy John surgery in the off-season. He just displayed one of those flashes, taking a down-and-away splitter to center field.

Once again, however, the Blue Jays answered.

With one out, Brandon Belt worked a walk, followed by a single by Vladimir Guerrero Jr. George Springer grounded to third but beat the turn from Stott to avoid a double play. He then picked another Nola curveball to swipe second base. It worked out well when Biggio took a high fastball to right field for a two-run single.

After a pair of walks from Schwarber and Harper in the top of the fifth, Nick Castellanos took a two-out slider to left field to make it a 4-3 game.

The Blue Jays then gave the Phillies a little bit of help. Stott hit a ground ball right to third but a short throw by third baseman Santiago Espinal went off the glove of Guerrero at first. Both Harper and Castellanos scored to give the Phillies the lead.

Realmuto starts the sixth inning by taking a high and in fastball to left field for a leadoff double. Mr. Salt and Pepper Jake Cave (yes that’s his new nickname) slapped a ball right off Gausman’s leg for an infield single.

Johan Rojas needed three attempts to get a bunt down but it could not score Realmuto from third, instead it only moved Cave over to second base.

Left-hander Tim Mayza came in to face the top of the Phillies order. The move didn’t work out for Blue Jays manager John Schneider however.

Kyle Schwarber took a single in on his hands to right field to score Realmuto and Alec Bohm singled to left to score Cave to make it 7-4.

After Bryce Harper slapped a single to shortstop, Schneider came back out again. It took just three pitches for Mayza to exit the game.

Matt Strahm came in for Nola in the sixth. It just wasn’t Nola’s strongest day, five innings, four runs, and a surprising four walks.

Strahm deserves some credit for tonight. He gave them two innings which was very helpful after the Phillies asked Seranthony Domínguez to throw 22 pitches last night. It also allowed them to save Jeff Hoffman for Friday.

Coming into this outing, Strahm has a 2.35 ERA since the all-star break. He’s looked much better when he finally got the chance at some much needed rest.

In the eighth, Cave decided to make it a non-save situation.

With the middle of the Blue Jays order up, Rob Thomson (happy birthday) went to his best arm in Craig Kimbrel for the eighth.

Kimbrel had the goods this time around, sitting 96-97 and pinpointing unhittable fastballs to the outside part of the plate to Guerrero and George Springer for two strikeouts.

Harper showed another flash of power that he’s lacked for most of the season. He got a hanging breaking ball from Bowden Francis and did not miss it.

Gregory Soto came in for the ninth and looked much more like the good version of himself. He threw just eleven pitches and struck out Davis Schneider with a 100 mph four-seam fastball at the top of the zone. He needed an easy outing after allowing four runs against the Twins on Saturday.

The Phillies have off tomorrow before they travel to Washington to play the Nationals. It’s Michael Lorenzen, who is coming off a no-hitter against them last Thursday.