Bryce Harper was about 45 feet down the line and had Phillies fans on their feet as he took off for a straight steal of home. With the Phillies ahead by a run and slugger Rhys Hoskins at the plate, Harper thought the gamble was worth the payoff.
Harper dashed on right-hander Sonny Gray’s fastball and slid into home, out in a puff of dirt on the tag by Curt Casali.
Harper’s hustle in third inning had backfired — and the Phillies’ lead soon disappeared in a 4-3 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday.
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“I had a good read, good jump,” Harper said. “I think if I just slid headfirst, got my hand in there a little bit, it probably would have been better. I probably should know if my guy has a take sign or not just in case he swings and puts one right in my face.”
Joey Votto tied the game for Cincinnati with a two-out single in the seventh inning and Eugenio Suárez followed with the go-ahead hit to rally the Reds and avoid a three-game sweep.
“Just a lot of good things happened today to be able to win that game,” Reds manager David Bell said .
Harper got tangled up in a pair of plays at the plate, scoring from second on a misplayed popup but getting thrown out on an attempted steal of home.
Trailing 1-0, the Phillies loaded the bases with two outs in the third against Grey. Hoskins hit a routine popup to first base that Votto appeared to lose in the sun. The ball plopped untouched on the field, and Maikel Franco scored from third and Harper from second. Harper initially was called out by plate umpire, but Harper got his right leg to the plate between the legs of catcher Casali’s legs and was ruled safe after a video review.
Jean Segura’s sacrifice fly in the fifth made it 3-1. With two outs and Hoskins up, Harper broke for the plate and was tagged out by Casali. When Harper was a rookie with Washington in 2012, Harper stole home on Cole Hamels after the Phillies lefty drilled him in the game.
The Phillies weren’t pleased with this attempt, either.
“He has been very aggressive on the bases and he’s won some games for us with his aggressive baserunning,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. “He and I spoke about it and he understands that was a little overaggressive.”
Harper has won over the fans and helped put the Phillies in first place in the NL East with his hard-charging style, and won’t change his attitude toward taking the extra base just because of one miscue.
“I just like to run bases. I like to run, even when I was younger. I like to try to make plays on the bags, play the game hard,” he said. “I’ve said it in the past, my teammates expect that out of me, these fans, this city as well. I expect it out of myself. Try to play hard each day.”
Raisel Iglesias allowed the potential tying run to reach on first base in the ninth but tossed a scoreless inning for his 13th save in 14 chances. Zach Duke (3-1) pitched one-third of an inning, helping stop Philadelphia’s four-game winning streak. Harper had a chance to tie the game in the eighth but he struck out against Amir Garrett.
Hoskins drove in two runs for the Phillies on the misplayed popup.
Aaron Nola tossed four-hit ball over 6 2/3 innings as he tried to follow teammate Nick Pivetta with a second straight complete game for the Phillies. Pivetta struck out six in his first career complete game on Saturday.
Nola led 3-1 when he was chased after 6 2/3 innings with two on. José Álvarez (0-2) gave up a single that loaded the bases, and Votto lined a two-run that tied the game at 3-all.
Suárez followed with a single off Vince Velasquez came in and gave up the go-ahead single to Suarez to make it 4-3.
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