PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Bryce Harper sparked Philadelphia’s comeback from a two-run deficit by reaching 20 homers for the ninth time, leading the Phillies over the New York Mets 7-5 on Saturday for their fourth straight win.
Harper had three RBIs for the defending NL champions (86-69), who are closing in on an NL wild card berth. Alec Bohm also homered as the Phillies opened a four-game lead over Arizona for the top wild card.
Philadelphia would clinch a playoff berth Sunday with a win and a loss by either the Chicago Cubs or Miami Marlins. The Phillies have not reached the playoffs in successive seasons since a five-year stretch from 2007-11.
Philadelphia trailed 2-0 before Harper homered off facing of the second deck in right-center in the second inning, a drive off José Quintana (3-6). Harper, who made his season debut on May 2 following Tommy John surgery, has 15 home runs in his last 44 games.
“I’m very fortunate to be where I am right now after what I went through in the offseason and with rehab,” Harper said. “This is all just a bonus for me. I’m very, very happy with getting 20 home runs. We have a few more games so, hopefully, I can get a few more.”
Nick Castellanos hit a tying triple later in the second and Alec Bohm hit his 19th home run in the third for a 3-2 lead. Harper added a two-run single in a three-run fifth that included Trea Turner’s run-scoring grounder.
“There’s still some things that we can clean up, but the way we’re playing right now is pretty good,” Harper said. “We talked about focusing on us and not worrying about the teams around us. Those are some good teams, but if we just keep playing our game and keep it going and get the job done.”
Zack Wheeler (13-6) improved to 4-0 in his last six starts, allowing five runs — three earned — and eight hits in seven innings.
“I was just grinding,” Wheeler said, “I didn’t feel terrible, but I also didn’t feel great, so I just wanted to get through that one and move on to the next one.”
Gregory Soto struck out Mark Vientos with two men on to end the eighth, and José Alvarado pitched a perfect ninth for his 10th save in 12 chances.
New York took a 2-0 lead in the second when Brett Baty’s grounder skipped under Turner’s glove at shortstop for an error.
Quintana (3-6) gave up six runs — five earned runs — and eight hits in six innings with a season-high 10 strikeouts. It was the first time he reached double-digit strikeouts since 2019 when he struck out 14 Phillies for the Chicago Cubs.
BALANCE OF POWER
Harper’s homer gave the Phillies five players with 20 or more home runs for the third time after 2007 and '09. Bohm could make it their first season with six.
Mets: Despite Tropical Storm Ophelia altering OF Starling Marte’s Triple-A rehab assignment, Mets manager Buck Showalter said the plan remains for Marte to rejoin the team for the final weekend of the season at home against the Phillies next week. Marte has missed seven weeks with a groin injury.
Phillies: Manager Rob Thomson said that in preparation for the postseason, he wants to see how a few of his relievers look pitching three days in a row in the final week of the season, if possible. However, he added that he would avoid doing that with Alvarado and RHP Seranthony Domínguez, who both spent time on the IL this season.
RHP Jose Butto (1-2, 3.09 ERA) is scheduled to start Sunday for the Mets and LHP Cristopher Sánchez (2-5, 3.55 ERA) for the Phillies in a game pushed back five hours to 6:05 p.m. EDT because of rain forecast for earlier in the day.
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