Bryce Harper has been waiting all season for a signature moment with the Philadelphia Phillies.
It finally came on Thursday.
Bryce Harper slugs walk-off slam
With the Phillies down two runs, Harper turned on a pitch from Derek Holland and sent a no-doubt missile into the second deck at Citizens Bank Park.
You wouldn’t know that, though, by Harper’s run around the bases. Like the baseball, he took off like he was shot out of a cannon and sprinted like he was going for an inside-the-park home run.
That’s what pure joy looks like.
It’s the moment Harper and the Phillies have been waiting for all season. And what a moment it was.
The Phillies entered the ninth inning down 5-1, but chipped away as Chicago used three different pitchers in an attempt to record the final two outs. Holland was summoned specifically for Harper, but couldn’t put him away. The final pitch was a 95-mph heater right in Harper’s wheelhouse.
It took a team effort to reach that point, and that includes help from Chicago’s bullpen and defense.
Reliever Rowan Wick got one out, but couldn't finish the inning after César Hernández reached on an error and Scott Kingery and Brad Miller both singled. Cubs manager Joe Maddon brought in former closer Pedro Strop next, but he only added fuel to the fire by allowing a single to Roman Quinn and hitting Rhys Hoskins with a pitch. That loaded the bases and set the stage for Harper.
With one swing, Harper completed the comeback and ended a Cubs streak 489 games in the making.
Bryce Harper's walkoff grand slam capped the @Phillies' comeback from a 5-1 deficit entering the 9th inning.
Prior to tonight, the Cubs had won 489 straight games when leading by 4+ runs in the 9th or later, the longest active streak in the NL.#RingTheBell
— Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS) August 16, 2019
Harper’s parents left early?
There was still a pretty good gathering of fans who hung around hoping for a Phillies comeback.
Apparently, that group didn’t include Bryce Harper’s parents.
During his postgame interview, Harper indicated that his parents may have left early.
Bryce’s parents didn’t even stay for the walk-off? smh. pic.twitter.com/HmuyqqxYjt
— Cut4 (@Cut4) August 16, 2019
Considering that Harper was due up seventh, it might have felt like a safe bet that he wouldn’t bat again. If they actually did indeed leave early, Harper might never let them live it down.
Phillies heating up
The victory completed a three-game series sweep for Philadelphia. It was a breakout series for their offense in the immediate aftermath of Charlie Manuel’s hiring as hitting coach. They outscored Chicago 22-8.
Harper smoked two home runs in Wednesday’s 11-1 victory. If that game and Harper’s walk-off slam are a sign of things to come, then the National League wild card is about to get really, really wild.
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