Bryce Harper’s first shot silenced the crowd. His second did the opposite, sending a buzz throughout Oracle Park.
It also sent a dagger through the Giants.
In a seesaw game in which momentum turned as frequently as it did during Bryce’s free agency, the Giants couldn’t survive the Philadelphia Harpers, falling 9-6 on Friday, San Francisco dropping to 2-7 this month and now four games behind Milwaukee in the playoff chase.
The Giants (57-60) had rallied, Stephen Vogt sending a Drew Smyly fastball into McCovey Cove in a three-run sixth to put San Francisco up, 6-5, and had the 36,275 on hand screaming. And then Harper, who finished with three runs scored and four RBIs — his swing appearing to play at Oracle Park after all — answered.
A Brandon Crawford error that was changed to a hit – Adam Haseley smoked the ball — started the Phillies’ rally in the seventh. Sean Rodriguez walked, and Tony Watson had two on and none out for Harper, who did to the baseball what your foot does to bugs in the house.
Harper obliterated a Watson offering that strayed right across the plate, sending it 456 feet into the Cove to put the Phillies ahead, 8-6. Watson put two more on base before Jandel Gustave induced a pair of sacrifice flies, the second providing the final margin.
Watson, solid all season, was dreadful, letting up four runs without recording an out. Entering the game, he had allowed one run in his past 10 1/3 innings.
It was Harper’s second blast of the game and 22nd of the season, his first arriving with a message to Giants fans who have booed him – albeit not in force – through the series’ first two games.
The Giants had closed the deficit to 4-3 in the fifth when Harper first showed off what he can do in San Francisco. Tyler Beede left one straight down the middle, and the $330 million man hit it 420 feet to right-center to make it 5-3 Phillies. He crossed home plate while putting a finger over his lips, shushing a crowd that at the time didn’t need to be shushed.
An inning later, Vogt gave the fans their voices back.
The catcher became the first Giant since Brandon Belt two Mays ago to up the splash-hit counter, launching a Smyly fastball 423 feet and into the Cove. The two-run shot tied the game at 5.
Beede’s strange night had dug the Giants a 4-2 hole in the third, when it all unraveled. Beede started out brilliantly, striking out five in his first seven outs, his stuff looking unhittable. Until it was quite hittable.
The Phillies loaded the bases on two walks and a single when the wrong Dickerson made the difference. With Alex still recovering, Corey (no relation) hit a triple to deep right. After a Jean Segura sacrifice fly, it was 4-1 Phillies.
Beede finished with five runs in five innings while striking out seven, another tease in a season that has been filled with them. In his past four starts, the rookie has surrendered 18 runs in 19 1/3 innings (8.38 ERA).
Wasted was Joey Rickard’s first homer as a Giants — in his first official at-bat. Wasted was a Kevin Pillar shot that wrapped around the left-field pole to put the Giants up 1-0 in the second. Wasted was the Vogt-inspired rally. Wasted was a rare offensive outburst in a season in which the Giants can’t afford to waste many more.