Harper’s throw to home plate saves Phillies 4-3 win over O

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PHILADELPHIA – – Bryce Harper has won games for the Phillies this year with a swing, slide and daring run around the goal.

Now add this backup to highlight coil: Harper pulled a heater on the fly from right field that nailed a home runner – and gave the Phillies an unforgettable victory in September stuffed with big games from their contender MVP.

Harper threw home the runner-up in the eighth inning and Andrew McCutchen hit a two-run homer to push Philadelphia into the NL East race with a 4-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night.

“We win by a point and he throws a guy. It’s a big point,” said manager Joe Girardi.

The Phillies have won two of three losses against the Orioles in 104 losses and now end all seven games at home with four against the Pirates in 94 losses.

Philadelphia came three games behind Atlanta for the division’s top spot.

The Braves faced Arizona on Wednesday night and completed a four-game streak with the Diamondbacks on Thursday. The NL East could be decided when the Phillies play Atlanta next week in a three-game set.

The Phillies can thank Harper’s arm for saving the win.

The Orioles reduced the lead to 4-3 with two strikeouts in the eighth and had a runner in the second when Pat Valaika shot a single to right field. Pedro Severino was called home and Harper fired a strike in the air on wide receiver JT Realmuto to end the inning.

Harper jogged off the field to the beat of his growing Phillies fan chants of “MVP!”

Jose Alvarado (7-1) took the victory. Ian Kennedy scored two goals in the ninth before retiring Ryan Mountcastle for his 25th save.

Yes, the Phillies won the series, but the offense was flawless in big stretches against a staff who came in with the worst ERA (5.87) in baseball. John Means pitched as an All-Star in a 2-0 victory on Monday and the Orioles had the first road shutout thrown by a 100-game losing team since 2016. The Phillies had to score two runs in the 10th inning for win 3-2 on Tuesday.

“Every game is a chore right now, but when you’re there it’s a good thing,” Girardi said. “We’re in it.”

Orioles manager Brandon Hyde gave his side credit for making three playoff games, considering “how badly they’ve been beaten” lately.

“It’s a great team with a big payroll and we’re limping a bit,” he said.

Jean Segura hit the fly of the decisive sacrifice in the seventh against Conner Greene (1-2) and Realmuto, who won Tuesday’s game with a two-point triple in the 10th, followed with an RBI single for a 4- lead. 2.

McCutchen delivered in the clutch in the sixth with a two-point shot and two strikeouts from Eric Hanhold for his 25th of the year and a 2-1 lead. Keegan Akin retired nine times in a row until he awarded the Harper single in sixth. That was it for the 10-game left-hander.

14-game winner Zack Wheeler has won his last four starts and allowed Austin Hays to double the RBI in the sixth to make it 1-0. Wheeler was lifted after the NL strikeout leader added nine to his total (240) in six innings.

He was lifted after 97 shots as the Phillies try to keep their ace fresh in the closing weeks of the playoff race.

“I want to continue to pitch the rest of the season and hopefully into the playoffs,” he said. “I think we are helping the cause by doing what we are doing.”

Trey Mancini’s RBI withdrawal against Sam Coonrod tied the score at 2 in the seventh.

Harper, one of the NL’s top MVP contenders, walked twice. That’s about the only way the Orioles have slowed down the MLB leader in OPS (1,050) with a career-high 39 doubles and 33 homers.

Who knew his biggest game at home would come from right field?

HAPPY TO SEE YOU AGAIN

The Athletic cited sources that Hyde extended his contract last offseason and will return in 2022.

“I cannot comment on the status of my contract but I am very happy to be back,” he said.

Hyde was a Chicago Cubs bench coach when he was hired to manage the team after the Orioles moved up to 47-115 IN 2018. Hyde is 128-246 with the Orioles. He went 54-108 in 2009. He was in the second of three seasons as the Cubs first baseman when the team won the World Series in 2016.

TRAINERS ‘ROOM

Orioles: placed INF Ramón Urías on the 10-day injured list (right adductor strain). … Hyde said OF Anthony Santander twisted his left hamstrings chasing Realmuto’s triple in Tuesday night’s game.

OUCH

Hays was third in sixth when he was pierced by a foul ball hit by Severino. Hays grabbed the ball and threw it into the dugout.

CLOSER

The Orioles have named RHP Cesar Valdez for an assignment for the second time this season. He made eight saves for the Orioles.

FOLLOWING

The Orioles return home and open a four-game set Thursday with the Texas Rangers. Baltimore sends LHP Zac Lowther (0-2, 9.61 ERA to the mound against RHP Glenn Otto (0-2, 9.37).

The Phillies send RHP Aaron Nola (8-8, 4.48) to the mound Thursday against Pittsburgh Pirates RHP Connor Overton (0-0, 0.00) for the start of a four-game set.

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