Hitless in five at-bats to open his anticipated first series with the Phillies, Bryce Harper grabbed teammate Nick Williams’ bat looking for a spark.
One big swing of the borrowed lumber later, Harper was on the top step of the dugout, roaring back at the fans chanting “MVP! MVP!” for their $330 million man.
Harper homered deep into the second deck in right-center field for his first hit with Philadelphia and celebrated with an emphatic curtain call, highlighting the host Phillies’ 8-6 win over Atlanta in Philadelphia on Saturday.
Harper crushed Jesse Biddle’s fastball 465 feet with two outs in the seventh. Fans gave Harper a standing ovation, hollering and clapping in a fashion rare for March baseball.
After getting high-fives in the dugout, the former Washington outfielder who was the 2015 NL MVP climbed out for a curtain call, throwing both fists in the air and shouting “Let’s go!”
“It was a really cool moment,” Harper said. “The fan base, the stadium, the electricity we have in this place, it all came together.”
Dodgers 18, D’backs 5: Cody Bellinger hit two homers and drove in six runs and Justin Turner added five RBIs for host Los Angeles. Bellinger had four hits and Joc Pederson added three, including his third homer, as part of the Dodgers’ 19-hit performance. Arizona backup catcher John Ryan Murphy gave up seven runs in two innings of mop-up relief, including homers by Bellinger and Austin Barnes in the eighth. Dodgers backup catcher Russell Martin also made his first pitching appearance, closing out the game with a perfect ninth inning on 10 pitches.
Mariners 6, Red Sox 5: Jay Bruce hit his first home run for Seattle, a three-run shot to center field, as the host Mariners beat the Red Sox. Boston starters Chris Sale, Nathan Eovaldi and Eduardo Rodriguez have given up 20 hits and 18 earned runs in the series.
Blue Jays 3, Tigers 0: Justin Smoak hit a two-run homer and Aaron Sanchez and four relievers combined on a five-hitter for host Toronto’s second straight shutout. Blue Jays starting pitchers have thrown 19 consecutive scoreless innings to begin the season. Detroit first baseman Miguel Cabrera left after being hit on the right hand by a pitch from Sanchez in the sixth. X-rays were negative.
Orioles 5, Yankees 3: Dwight Smith Jr. singled home the tying run in the sixth inning before catcher Gary Sanchez’s wild throw on a double steal allowed the go-ahead run to score as visiting Baltimore gave manager Brandon Hyde his first victory.
Indians 2, Twins 1: Greg Allen hit a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth inning and Brad Hand escaped a bases-loaded jam in the bottom half of the inning for Cleveland. The teams combined for just six hits, two by Minnesota, in a game that began with the temperature at 34 degrees.
Mets 11, Nationals 8: J.D. Davis delivered a tie-breaking two-run single in the eighth inning and rookie Pete Alonso contributed three hits and two RBIs as visiting New York improved to 2-0.
Royals 8, White Sox 6: Jorge Soler had three hits and three RBIs and Alex Gordon scored three runs despite not getting a hit as host Kansas City improved to 2-0 for the first time since 2015.
Rays 3, Astros 1: Tyler Glasnow and four relievers shut down Houston after Alex Bregman’s first-inning homer as host Tampa Bay prevailed. The Rays struck out 13 times, raising their total to 38 in the first three games of the series.
Marlins 7, Rockies 3: Miguel Rojas and Martin Prado each had three of host Miami’s 16 hits in its win. Colorado was without first baseman Daniel Murphy, who is out indefinitely after breaking a finger diving for a grounder Friday.
Brewers 4, Cardinals 2: Milwaukee’s Christian Yelich became the first MVP to homer in the first three games of the following season as the host Brewers beat St. Louis. Travis Shaw and Mike Moustakas also homered off Cardinals starter Dakota Hudson.
Rangers 8, Cubs 6: Joey Gallo hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning as host Texas rallied in the first win for new Rangers manager Chris Woodward.
Reds-Pirates, postponed: The game in Cincinnati was rained out. It was rescheduled as part of a day-night doubleheader May 27.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Bryce-Harper-s-first-hit-with-Phillies-is-13729702.php.