HATS OFF TO HARPER! PHILS PULL WITHIN 2 1/2 IN WC, 3 1/2 IN NL EAST

By Jenny Masters

Bryce Harper stroked his 31st homer of the season, Zack Wheeler rang up 8 strikeouts and the Phillies got a much-needed 6-1 win over the Colorado Rockiest.

Odubel Herrera’s two-RBI bunt double and Jean Segura’s solo homer helped the Phillies snap a four-game losing streak that had them fading from the NL East playoff race.

They finished the night 3 1/2 games behind the Braves in NL East and only 2 1/2 behind the Pads and Reds for the second wild card.

“It’s not like we have months and months of games,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said. “This is the time of the year you play the best baseball. Those are the teams that are in the playoffs. And we have not played well in the past 10 games.”

Harper hit a solo shot in the seventh and helped end the eighth when his relay throw to Segura nailed C.J Cron at the plate.

Harper has five home runs in his last seven games and has a hit in 17 of his last 18 games. He’s batting .394 (26-for-66) with six doubles, eight homers, 19 RBIs, 11 walks and a 1.323 OPS over that span.

It helps when Wheeler (13-9) is on the mound.

Wheeler, who reached 1,000 career strikeouts, won his third straight start and tossed at least six innings in his 11th straight start. He left with the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh.

Jose Alvarado retired Charlie Blackmon on a grounder to end the threat.

The Phillies loaded the bases against Kyle Freeland (5-8) in the fourth and the lefty forced in a run on a walk. Herrera then beat the Rockies’ shift with a bunt down third that rolled so far down the line, the speedy outfielder landed on second with a double and a 3-0 lead.

“You don’t look to see a guy bunt with the bases loaded and the pitcher on deck,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “Maybe there was a little bit of an element of surprise there. Very unique outcome to a very unique play.”

Segura homered in the fifth.

It looked as if the Phillies were in good shape to make up ground on Atlanta when they began a stretch on Thursday of 14 of 17 games at home against teams that were a combined 113 games under .500. But Colorado followed Thursdays 4-3, ninth-inning comeback victory with a romp.

The Phillies’ frustration was on display Friday when Brad Miller slammed his bat into a dugout rack six times after being called out on strikes. On Saturday, he hit his third career pinch-hit homer in the seventh for a 5-1 lead.

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