“Besides winning the division and getting to the playoffs, that was one of the coolest moments I’ve had in my life,” Harper told NBC Sports Philadelphia.
The Phillies entered the bottom of the ninth inning trailing 5-1 Thursday at Citizens Bank Park. Phillies shortstop Jean Segura began the bottom of the frame by flying out to left field. The Cubs allowed Cesar Hernandez to reach base on a fielding error in the next at-bat. Scott Kingery followed with a single off Cubs reliever Rowan Wick. Brad Miller plated Hernandez with an RBI single in the next at-bat, giving Philadelphia its second run.
The Cubs pulled out Wick for Pedro Strop to face the Phillies’ Roman Quinn. Quinn singled to score Kingery before Strop hit Hoskins with a pitch in the next at-bat, loading the bases for Harper.
Chicago went to the bullpen once again, pulling out the right-handed Strop for left-handed pitcher Derek Holland to face the red-hot Harper.
The Phillies slugger fouled off Holland’s first two offerings before taking two balls to even the count. He fouled off another pitch before smashing a 95-mph sinker over the right field fence, giving the Phillies a 7-5 victory. Harper let out a vicious scream as he rounded first base. He sprinted around second base before jumping into a crowd of his teammates at home plate.
“Bryce is enormous in those moments, right?” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler told reporters. “He’s kind of built for them.”
Harper’s second-deck moonshot traveled 413 feet and had an exit velocity of 113 mph, according to Statcast. The homer sailed to a height of 158 feet before leaving the field in 6.7 seconds. Harper rounded the bases in 19.27 seconds.
Harper was 1-for-4 with four RBIs, two strikeouts and a run scored in the win. He is now hitting .253 with 25 home runs and 87 RBIs on the season. Harper has six home runs and 14 RBIs in his last eight games.
Yu Darvish had a brilliant outing spoiled by the Phillies comeback. The Cubs star allowed just four hits in seven shutout innings during his start. Darvish also threw 10 strikeouts for the Cubs, before Chicago’s bullpen gave up a 5-0 lead.
Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber each homered for the Cubs in the loss. Rizzo was 2-for-5 with two RBIs and a run scored for Chicago. Cubs infielder David Bote also recorded an RBI in the loss.
The Phillies swept the Cubs in the three-game series, improving their record to 63-58. Philadelphia trails the Atlanta Braves by eight games in the National League East. The Phillies are one game behind in the National League Wild Card standings. Philadelphia hosts the San Diego Padres at 7:05 p.m. EDT Friday at Citizens Bank Field.
The Cubs battle the Pittsburgh Pirates at 7:05 p.m. EDT Friday at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.