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Harper (2 HRs) leads outburst in Hamels' return

Realmuto hits grand slam in 3rd after Phillies chase former ace
@ToddZolecki
August 15, 2019

PHILADELPHIA -- Bryce Harper crushed his second home run in the sixth inning Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park, a moonshot into the second deck in right-center field. Harper touched home plate, returned to the dugout, filled a cup with water and walked it to Charlie Manuel, who sat at

PHILADELPHIA -- Bryce Harper crushed his second home run in the sixth inning Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park, a moonshot into the second deck in right-center field. Harper touched home plate, returned to the dugout, filled a cup with water and walked it to Charlie Manuel, who sat at the far end.

Manuel took a drink.

"He was working so hard and everybody was cheering his name," Harper said, following an 11-1 victory over the Cubs. "I think Charlie's never seen a homer he didn't like. It's fun to have him."

Box score

The ballpark had a 2008 vibe Wednesday: Manuel in the Phillies' dugout. "Charlie! Charlie!" chants from the crowd. Cole Hamels on the mound. Chris Wheeler on the TV broadcast. A Phillies offense smashing baseballs over the wall and around the field. Of course, it is 2019, Manuel is the Phillies' new hitting coach, Hamels is pitching for the Cubs, Wheeler is retired from a lengthy broadcasting career and playing plenty of golf in Florida, while the Phillies' struggling offense knocked their long-ago ace out of the game in the third inning.

It was a fun night for the Phillies. It has not been fun lately at the Bank. The victory has the Phillies two games behind the Cubs, who trail the Cardinals by percentage points in NL Central and currently occupy the second NL Wild Card spot.

"It was an incredible energy in the ballpark, and rightfully so," Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. "Charlie has earned that kind of adulation over a long period of time. He certainly adds to that loose, relaxed vibe. He's laid-back. He believes in our hitters. I think he's going to make sure our hitters know that. Look, our hitters look like they believe in themselves today. It's no surprise. He's a great influence on our group."

The players enjoyed the atmosphere, too. A player or two repeated the "Charlie! Charlie!" chants in the dugout. Hector Neris smiled, pumped his fist in the air a few times and said, "Charlie! Charlie!" before he left the clubhouse.

"It was pretty hyped," said Phillies ace Aaron Nola, who allowed one run in seven innings.

Rhys Hoskins hit leadoff for the first time in his career Wednesday, hitting a bloop single to left-center field to get things going in the first. Hoskins, who has been in a slump, raised his arms in triumph as the ball fell for a hit. Harper followed two batters later, crushing a two-run home run to left-center field to make it 2-0.

Harper has two multi-homer games in the past six days.

"Before the game you see that Cole Hamels is throwing today," Harper said. "I thought the stadium was pretty excited for that as well. He did a lot of good things for this organization while he was here. I think all of us were pretty excited to face him as well."

The Phillies scored two more runs in the second inning against Hamels, who pitched at Citizens Bank Park for the first time since July 19, 2015, just 12 days before he was traded to the Rangers as the organization kicked off a rebuild. Hamels' night got worse from there. He allowed a double to Scott Kingery, a bunt single to Roman Quinn and a single to center to Cesar Hernandez to score another run to start the third. Adam Haseley hit a ball toward first baseman Anthony Rizzo, but Hamels never covered first. Another run scored.

Hamels had thrown his final pitch. It was Hamels' shortest start at the Bank since July 4, 2006, when he lasted only two innings against the Padres because of an hour-long rain delay.

"I knew what they were going to do, I just couldn't get it there," Hamels said. "I do know Charlie pretty well. I think if I was able to at least be in a better spot and have better mechanics and be able to locate pitches, I know I could have come out a lot better than the way that the game went. I think I know what the philosophy is."

Cubs right-hander Alec Mills walked Nola, Hoskins reached on a fielder's choice and J.T. Realmuto hit a grand slam to make it 10-0. It was Realmuto's fourth career grand slam and second this season. He is the first Phillies catcher with two grand slams in a season since Benito Santiago had two in 1996.

"The offense obviously clicked today," Kapler said. "A lot of big hits. A lot of great at-bats."

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook .