Phillies at Rockies: Bryce Harper continues MVP form in first road trip win

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Harper continues MVP form in win against Rockies originally appeared nbc sports philadelphia

Even bad news turned out to be good news — or at least not so bad news — for the Phillies on Friday night at Coors Field.

All-Star catcher JT Realmuto was forced to leave a 6–3 win over the Rockies in the top of the seventh after injuring his right arm after sliding headfirst into third base two innings earlier. It seemed like a real buzzword on an otherwise upbeat evening.

But manager Rob Thomson told reporters after the game that X-rays on Realmuto's sprained right pinky were negative and he hoped he would be able to at the earliest by the series finale Sunday afternoon in Colorado.

“The swelling has gone down. It's a little sore but a lot less sore than when he came out of the game. So that's good. He kind of jammed it up. I'm sure he'll go (Sunday) Will be ready for.

Realmuto remained behind the plate for two more innings before giving way to pinch-hitter Garrett Stubbs in the seventh. Stubbs is the only other catcher the Phillies currently have running on their 40-man roster, so if the injury turns out to be more serious than the team believes, a series of transactions will be required.

“It just got tighter as it went on,” he said in the clubhouse after the game. “I could really feel it throwing the ball. Every throw just felt worse and worse. I tried to swing down the tunnel and I didn't feel good.”

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However, he said that he has every hope of playing again from Sunday.

Everything else that happened on Friday was a solid plus for the Phillies.

Bryce Harper, just 10 days off the injured list, showed his MVP form in the eighth. He broke open a tying game with a two-run double, stole third and came on a wild throw.

Tyjuan Walker, who got off to a slow start this offseason after signing a 4-year, $72 million free agent contract, made his second straight strong start. He has an earned run average of 2.77 in his last two matches.

Ranger Suarez is set to make his 2023 debut on Saturday night after missing the first month and a half after injuring his elbow during spring training. This should help strengthen the rotation.

In the first game without reliever Jose Alvarado, who is 15-days in IL with an elbow problem, Craig Kimbrel stepped in on Friday night and got the save.

And the Phillies won their fourth straight to get back over .500 for just the second time this season. They also surpassed the Marlins and moved up to second place in the National East, the highest place they had in the division for the entire year.

Much was made about Harper returning from Tommy John in record time. But when he came back in 2022 after breaking his arm, it took him a month to get the zone at the plate. This year he has played eight matches and is batting. 344.

The Phillies' winning rally began with a two-out double by Trey Turner and a walk by Alec Bohm. This set the stage for Harper to rip off his 300th career double and put the Phillies up for good.

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Harper's offensive baserunning insurance gave the Phils some breathing room, but it probably scared Thomson's wheezing, considering Harper was cleared to play 10 days earlier.

“I know everyone was holding their breath, but I'm going to play the game the way I know play it,” he said on the postgame show with Tom McCarthy and Ruben Amaro Jr. “I thought. that third base was a great opportunity after that double. I don't think he was really thinking about me. The guy was playing a little bit. I got a good jump, went in there and read the ball in left field, was able to score Was able and we got one more run.

After knocking out Walker for eight runs in 3 1/3 innings by the Dodgers on May 1, he had a 6.91 ERA. He had walked 17 batters in 28 2/3 innings. There was talk that he would have to be more aggressive in attacking hitters. Since then he has not walked a single batsman in 13 innings.

“Fantastic,” said Thomson. “First pitch hit. Quick out. know, our pitching staff in this game only had one three-ball count the whole game.

Rockies starter Gomper retired the first 14 batters he faced before Realmuto spoiled the perfect game bid with a double. He was injured when he tried to take third. The Phillies broke through with a solo homer by Alec Bohm and a two-run shot to center by Kyler Schwarber in the seventh.

The Rockies came back to tie the score in the bottom of the inning, setting up Harper's clutch double in the eighth.

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It would be easy to dismiss this as a win against a last-place team, but the Rockies have won eight of their last 10 on Friday night.

And, when all was said and done, the bad news wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been.