Heckled Harper homers, Realmuto exits early, Phils top Nats

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Philadelphia Phillies' Bryce Harper celebrates his solo home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park, Tuesday, May 11, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WASHINGTON – Bryce Harper treated heckling fans to a long home run, Andrew Knapp delivered a key pinch-hit in place of injured catcher J.T. Realmuto and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Washington Nationals 6-2 on Tuesday night.

Realmuto suffered a muscle bruise when he was hit in the left knee by Josh Bell’s foul ball in the seventh. The two-time All-Star stayed in until Bell struck out to end the inning.

“I’m not so sure what he’s going to feel like tomorrow,” Philadelphia manager Joe Girardi said. “My guess is it wouldn’t be great. … My guess is it’s not an IL (situation). My guess is he’ll be sore tomorrow. We’ll see how it is. I can’t tell you how it’s going to respond. The good thing is it’s muscular.”

Trea Turner homered for Washington, which has dropped six of seven since reaching .500 and briefly taking the NL East lead on May 2. It was the first of 19 games between the teams this season, all crammed between May 11 and Sept. 1.

Harper, the 2015 MVP who played for Washington from 2012-18, signed a 13-year, $330 million with Philadelphia two years ago. He was regularly booed when the Phillies visited Nationals Park in 2019, then received a reprieve last year when fans weren’t permitted to attend games during the truncated season in the midst of the pandemic.

It was back to normal as Philadelphia played its first game in Washington this year. Harper was jeered when he stepped into the box in the first inning --- and two pitches later blasted an offering from Erick Fedde off the front of the second deck in right field.

While Harper began things, Knapp effectively finished off the victory for Philadelphia. Knapp capped a three-run inning with a two-run, bases-loaded single off reliever Kyle Finnegan.

“I was really just trying to put a ball in play and hit something hard,” Knapp said. “I saw a lot of that guy’s fastball. I was fouling it straight back and it took me a little bit to get the timing of it. Once he threw that splitter in the dirt and it was nowhere close, I just sat on the heater.”

Chase Anderson (2-3) retired 15 of 16 after yielding two hits to begin the game, then Turner hit his eighth homer on the first pitch of the sixth.

Juan Soto walked to end Anderson’s night and scored two batters later on Kyle Schwarber’s single to make it 3-2.

Washington loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh to bring up Bell, who struck out a pitch after the foul off Realmuto’s knee. That capped an 0-for-4 night for the first baseman, who was acquired from Pittsburgh in the offseason and saw his average sink to .134.

“We need him,” Washington manager Dave Martinez said. “He’s a big part of our lineup. I’m not going to give up on him. In the past, he’s been streaky and when he starts to hit, he starts to hit, and he can carry us for a while. We just have to stay with it.”

Fedde (2-4) threw only one perfect inning --- his last --- while making it through five. He surrendered five hits, three walks and three runs and struck out five.

Rhys Hoskins delivered the Phillies second run with an RBI single in the third, and Andrew McCutchen hit a sacrifice fly an inning later.


Phillies: LHP Archie Bradley (left oblique strain) is scheduled to make a rehabilitation appearance Wednesday for Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Bradley has not pitched for Philadelphia since April 10.

Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg (shoulder inflammation) threw 62 pitches in a simulated game Tuesday. “He threw a little bit more than we anticipated, which to me is a good sign,” Martinez said. … RHP Wander Suero (left oblique strain) was examined and worked out before Tuesday’s game. Martinez said if things went well the reliever could be activated Wednesday or Thursday.


Phillies: RHP Zack Wheeler (3-2, 2.83 ERA) makes his start since his three-hit shutout of Milwaukee on Thursday. He was 1-1 with a 1.46 ERA in two starts against Washington last season.

Nationals: LHP Jon Lester (0-1, 2.70 ERA), who has gone five innings in both of his starts this year for Washington, takes the mound as the series continues.


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