July 15, 2023, 11:02 p.m. ET
PHILADELPHIA — Bryce Harper ended his major league career longest homeless streak in game two, and the Philadelphia Phillies swept the double-leadership of the San Diego Padres 6-4, 9-4 on Saturday.
Harper connected on a curveball from left-hander Ryan Weathers (1-6), tied the score 1-1 in the fourth inning.
“That’s what he does,” said Phillies manager Rob Thomson. “Everyone is excited.”
The ball was caught barehanded in the Philadelphia bullpen in center field by closer Craig Kimbrel.
Needing a healthy Kimbrel, Harper lightly told the closer not to pick her up with her bare hands again.
“That’s stupid,” said Harper, causing laughter among reporters. “I’ve talked to him. It was terrible. You can’t do that. I mean, good catch but come on.”
It was the fourth homer of the season for Harper, who made his 2023 debut on May 2 after recovering from Tommy John surgery. The home run was Harper’s first since May 25 in Atlanta against Dylan Dodd. He has made 166 plate appearances without going deep.
Prior to this 38 game streak, Harper’s previous longest homeless streak was 25 last season. It was only his fourth homeless drought of at least 20 games of his career.
“Everyone keeps talking about it, but it is what it is,” Harper said of the drought. “For me personally, just keep hitting the ball. Just keep hitting hard. I’m not going there to hit homers. I’m not really trying to hit homers. If you’re trying to hit homers, it’s not good.
“Drove the ball really well tonight, and it can get out of there. Keep swinging it and keep doing my thing.”
Harper is limited in hitting this season. Thomson said before Friday’s game that Harper could return to the field for the first time since April 2022, playing first base instead of his usual outfield position, but later said that Harper would not play first against San Diego.
Harper, 30, is in the fifth season of a 13-year, $330 million contract.
Associated Press and ESPN Stats & Information contributed to this story.