Phillies vs. Rockies: Bryce Harper homers, Phils get a big break in win

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Bryce Harper goes deep as Phillies open series with win over Rockies originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

If the Phillies are going to make a little move in the standings as April begins to wind down, they need to start winning some series.

It's never easy to win a four-game series, but it helps when you win the first one and that's just what the Phils did Monday night when they rolled past the Colorado Rockies, 8-2, in front of 20,130 at chilly Citizens Bank Park.

The Phillies, who have lost four straight series after taking two of three from Oakland to open the season, are now 7-10. They have three more against the Rockies before heading to New York on Friday night to start a three-game series against the NL East-leading New York Mets.

"All around, that was a good start to the series," Bryce Harper said. "We've got three more till we get to New York, so we just have to play our best baseball and have a good week. It would be great to come out of this with a winning series heading into the weekend. We need to come in tomorrow with the same mentality and the same fire and passion we had tonight."

One night after being shut out by the Milwaukee Brewers and Angel Hernandez, the Phillies stroked nine hits and capitalized on Colorado's sloppy defense for just their third win in the last eight games.

Harper keyed the offense with a solo homer and a sacrifice fly. Rhys Hoskins had three hits. Kyle Schwarber, who entered the game hitting .169, drove in a pair of runs with a double that fell in when two Colorado outfielders got their signals crossed.

After being thwarted twice the night before by Hernandez and his wide strike zone, the baseball gods were with Schwarber in this one.

"You keep hitting the ball hard and eventually you're going to get some breaks and we got one tonight," manager Joe Girardi said. "I think a lot of these guys are really going to start to heat up. I really believe that in my heart and we'll see some bigger outputs from the offense for sure."

Kyle Gibson earned the pitching victory with 5⅔ innings of two-run ball. Seranthony Dominguez, Jeurys Familia, James Norwood and Bailey Falter combined on 3⅓ scoreless innings to close it out.

Gibson's night did not start off well as Colorado leadoff man Connor Joe blasted the first pitch of the game off the facing of the second deck in left field.

Randal Grichuk led off the second inning with a solo homer against Gibson as the Phillies fell behind early, 2-0.

Other than the two long balls, Gibson pitched well. He gave up just one other hit and allowed no other runs as he improved to 2-1.

"I don't feel like I changed anything," Gibson said. "Just keep going after them and not let those two swings get to you."

The Phillies scored three runs in the third to take the lead against lefty Kyle Freeland. The Rockies committed an error in the inning and had a ball fall in between two outfielders. The Rockies made another error in the Phillies' four-run seventh inning and had three in all.

Zach Eflin will look to try to turn the victory into a winning streak when he gets the ball Tuesday night in the second game of the series. He will face Colorado right-hander German Marquez.

Gibson believes the Phillies are "this close" to going on a run.

"There's not much panic going on in here," he said. "We know that we've hit the ball hard and we're hitting it right at guys. We've been talking in here and we just have this feeling that when we get going, it's going to be tough sledding for the visiting team that comes in here or wherever we're going.

"So as a pitching staff, if we can keep having nights like this where we're giving up four or less (runs), we have a really good chance of winning the ballgame. Guys are swinging the bat well and I think they're getting those at-bats under their belt that they would have had at the end of spring training normally and I think they're ready to go.

"Nights like these can springboard you."

Tune in Tuesday night to see if it does.

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