Bryce Harper was clutch — again.
Harper hit a tying, two-run double and scored the go-ahead run on an error following Alec Bohm’s infield single, helping the Philadelphia Phillies rally to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 8-7 Friday night and earn their first doubleheader sweep in eight years.
“I love those opportunities. I love those moments,” Harper said. “This city and this team, they depend on me to come through in those moments and come up clutch. Anytime I can get up there with the game on the line, I’ll take my chances.”
The Phillies came back twice in the nightcap.
Rafael Marchan hit his first career homer as a professional, a three-run drive in the fourth that tied it at 5. That came after Mickey Moniak, the 2016 No. 1 overall pick in the amateur draft, lined a single to right for his first hit in the majors.
Marchan didn’t go deep in 846 plate appearances over four seasons in the minors, but the 21-year-old Venezuelan catcher connected in just his fifth time up in the big leagues.
“That’s the best feeling,” Marchan said. “I was so happy running the bases.”
Randal Grichuk’s sacrifice fly gave the Jays a 6-5 lead in the fifth and Connor Brogdon walked No. 9 batter Danny Jansen on a 3-2 pitch with the bases loaded and two outs, forcing in another run.
Harper heating up
Rafael Dolis (2-2) struck out Andrew McCutchen looking with runners on second and third for the second out in the sixth. With a base open, the Blue Jays went after hot-hitting Harper and he delivered.
Harper hit a drive high off the wall in left-centre, slid into the second and got up pumping his fist. Bohm followed with a grounder to second baseman Joe Panik. He beat the throw to Dolis covering first and the ball got away for an error, allowing Harper to score.
“Every coach wants that guy who embraces the spotlight and is successful in it,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said of Harper. “To hit that ball like he did against the wind, he’s able to control his emotions. He’s a special talent. He works and works and works and wants to win so bad and that’s part of what makes him great.”
Brogdon (1-0) tossed 1 2/3 scoreless innings for his first career win. Hector Neris finished for his fifth save in eight chances. He retired Cavan Biggio on a liner to centre with two runners on to end it.
Jays starter Ross Stripling yielded three runs in 3 1/3 innings.
McCutchen hit a solo homer in the third.
Philadelphia’s David Hale made his first start since 2015, allowing two runs and four hits in 3 1/3 innings. JoJo Romero gave up three runs on three hits, recording just one out.
Teoscar Hernandez blasted his 15th homer out to left to cut it to 2-1 in the fourth. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Santiago Espinal had RBI singles, and Biggio’s two-run single extended the lead to 5-2.
Eflin shuts Jays down in opener
In the opener, Eflin (3-2) threw 92 pitches for his third career shutout and fifth complete game, though this one was seven innings. All of his strikeouts were swinging, including three in the first on curveballs.
“We had a game plan going in of mixing a little more offspeed so that worked out obviously in the first inning and I kind of really just carried that momentum,” Eflin said.
Harper hit 878 feet of homers in a loss Thursday night against the Mets and connected for his third shot in two games to ignite a five-run fifth against Robbie Ray (2-5).
The injury-depleted Phillies, missing Nos. 2, 4 and 6 hitters Rhys Hoskins, J.T. Realmuto and Jean Segura, are 26-25. They began the day with a half-game lead over St. Louis for the last wild card in the NL.
Toronto has lost five in a row but entered with a 4 1/2-game lead over Seattle for the final wild card in the AL.
“We have to regroup and our pitching is better than that, so you know, it’s going to get better,” Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said.
Ray gave up five runs and five hits in 4 1/3 innings in his third start for the Blue Jays after being acquired from Arizona before the trade deadline.
“We can hit, we got guys that can pitch, our bullpen is great, they’ve been great all year, I think everybody just needs to relax and go out and do what they have to do,” Ray said.