Phillies' Harper hits first home run since elbow surgery

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia Phillies slugger Bryce Harper homered for the first time this season in the fifth inning of Saturday night's game against the Boston Red Sox.

The 30-year-old, batting as the designated hitter, was playing in his fourth game since returning from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow last Nov. 23. The two-time NL MVP drove a full-count 89 mph sinker from right-hander Corey Kluber to the opposite field and over the wall in left-center with nobody on and one out, cutting Philadelphia's deficit to 5-3. It was his 286th chomer and 102nd with the Phillies.

The sellout crowd of 43,832 cheered loudly as Harper rounded the bases, much the same as they did last postseason when he helped the Phillies reach the World Series. Harper was selected NL Championship Series MVP, and his go-ahead home run in the pennant-clinching victory over the San Diego immediately went down as one of the top moments in Philadelphia sports history.

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Harper entered Saturday with four hits, including a double, in 11 at-bats. He also had a hard-hit single to right field in the third inning on Saturday.

He received a 25-second standing ovation in his return to Philadelphia prior to his first at-bat in Friday night's game against Boston. The Phillies requested extra time from Major League Baseball for the at-bat. Under baseball's new pace-of-play rules, a batter must be in the box and ready to hit with 8 seconds remaining on the pitch clock.


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The Associated Press