Bryce Harper’s first hit of the season was a big one. Same for his second. And third.

Harper homered three times for Philadelphia during Tuesday night’s game against Cincinnati, including a grand slam in the seventh inning. The two-time NL MVP went 0 for 11 while playing in three of the Phillies’ first four games.

The 31-year-old Harper drove a 1-2 cut fastball from Graham Ashcraft deep to center in the first. The 420-foot solo shot had an exit velocity of 107.7 mph.

Bryce Harper smacks first homer of season as Phillies strike first vs. Reds

He came up again in the fourth and hit another solo shot to right. The 367-foot homer on the first pitch of the at-bat gave Harper 1,000 career runs.

Bryce Harper belts SECOND homer of the game to help Phillies regain lead vs. Reds

Harper’s grand slam — a 422-foot shot to right-center on a full-count sinker from Brent Suter — lifted the Phillies to an 8-1 lead.

It was Harper’s 26th career multihomer game. The seven-time All-Star last accomplished the feat on Aug. 16, 2023, at Toronto.

Phillies’ Bryce Harper crushes a grand slam and third home run vs. the Reds

Harper was hampered by back tightness at the end of spring training, possibly contributing to his slow start. He is in his first full season playing first base after reconstructive elbow surgery forced him to move from right field.

He tumbled into a photographer’s well on Saturday and then rested during Sunday’s 5-4 win over Atlanta.

The Phillies said it was a scheduled day off, but after the game manager Rob Thomson said Harper was sore. Thomson was noncommittal about playing Harper on Tuesday night, concerned about the weather forecast, but he kept the slugger in the lineup.

Reporting by The Associated Press.


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