PHILADELPHIA — Bryce Harper singled, doubled and homered, Trea Turner doubled, homered and drove in four runs and the Philadelphia Phillies defeated the Kansas City Royals 9-6 on Saturday night.
Alec Bohm also went deep for defending NL champion Philadelphia, which entered holding the second wild-card spot.
Freddy Fermin homered twice for the Royals, who had won seven consecutive games.
Turner put Philadelphia ahead 8-6 with a three-run shot in the sixth off Angel Zerpa (0-1). It was Turner’s 11th drive of the season and first since July 8. Rather than boo the slumping slugger, who signed an 11-year, $300 million deal in the offseason but was dropped to eighth in the lineup due to his struggles, Philadelphia’s notoriously tough fan base responded to a social media campaign to greet Turner at the start of a 10-game homestand on Friday night with a standing ovation before each at-bat.
After singling and driving in a run in Philadelphia’s 7-5 loss to the Royals on Friday, Turner thanked the fans. The Phillies faithful continued to pour support on Turner on Saturday, again giving him loud cheers before each at-bat and a standing ovation before his turn in the sixth.
J.T. Realmuto led off by reaching on a hit by pitch and Johan Rojas put runners on first and second with a bunt single. Turner sent the sellout crowd of 42,326 into a playoff-like frenzy by launching Zerpa’s first pitch, a 94 mph sinker, over the wall in left. He took a curtain call, raising his Phillies helmet high into the air with his right hand and pumping his left hand to the fans, after the 383-foot drive.
He followed that at-bat with an RBI double to the wall in left-center in the eighth. Turner also made two stellar defensive plays at shortstop, highlighted in the second inning by diving to his left before spinning around and throwing out Samad Taylor at first base.
Turner said the fans’ response on Friday night brought his mother to tears.
Phillies fans also were cheering after Harper’s one-out, two-run drive to left-center pulled the Phillies within 6-5 in the fifth. It was the sixth homer of the season for Harper, whose power numbers have been down this season since returning May 2 from offseason Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.
Needing a triple to reach the cycle, Harper struck out swinging in the seventh.
Matt Strahm (7-3) pitched two scoreless innings of relief, and Craig Kimbrel tossed a scoreless ninth for his 19th save in 21 chances.
Harper likely won’t play the outfield again this season.
The two-time NL MVP served strictly as Philadelphia’s designated hitter for most of last season after injuring his right throwing elbow on an outfield throw in April 2022. After surgery, Harper returned to his DH role on May 2 before debuting at first base for the first time in his career on July 21.
Since then, manager Rob Thomson has been alternating Harper between first base and DH and that is likely the plan for the remainder of the season.
“I wouldn’t think so, not at this point, unless something changes,” Thomson said on Saturday, when asked if Harper would return to the outfield this season.
Seven-time All-Star Harper has played well at first base, making just one error in nine games over 80 innings. He was the DH on Saturday.
Both club’s starters struggled. Royals RHP Alec Marsh gave up three runs on six hits in four innings while Phillies LHP Cristopher Sánchez allowed six runs on six hits in five innings.
Kansas City’s seven-game streak was its longest since winning nine in a row from July 19-28, 2017.
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Home-plate umpire Ben May ejected Dairon Blanco and Royals manager Matt Quatraro after both argued May’s strike-three call on Blanco in the ninth that was the second out in the inning.
Phillies: CF Brandon Marsh exited the game with a left knee contusion after crashing into the center-field wall trying to catch Taylor’s triple leading off the fifth. Marsh limped off without putting much weight on his left leg. … Left-handed reliever José Alvarado (left elbow inflammation) will throw a bullpen session on Monday. If all goes well, Alvarado will pitch in at least one minor league game before returning to the Phillies He has been sidelined since July 7.
Royals RHP Zack Greinke (1-11, 5.32) opposes Philadelphia RHP Taijuan Walker (12-4, 3.99) in the finale of the three-game series on Sunday.
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb