Phillies star Bryce Harper is no stranger to hitting home runs. Usually, his homers clear the fences. That wasn't the case on Monday night, when he notched an inside-the-park home run against the San Francisco Giants (GameTracker).
Harper's inside-the-parker came in the bottom of the fifth inning against right-hander Sean Hjelle when he drove a two-strike sinker to deep left-center. The ball ricocheted off the bottom of the wall, evading Giants center fielder Wade Meckler. Meckler then had difficulty picking the ball up from its final resting spot, affording Harper some additional time to scamper around the bases and slide in without a play. Take a look for yourself at the play in motion:
Should that have been called a triple and an error on Meckler? Probably, if we're being honest about the impact Meckler's inability to pick the ball up had on the play's outcome. But, even so, we're fine with the inside-the-park scoring standing on the grounds that it was more rad.
Harper, 30, entered Monday's game with a seasonal slash line of .292/.385/.440 (127 OPS+) and with nine home runs and 40 RBI. His contributions this season have been worth an estimated 1.6 Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball Reference's calculations.
Harper has been particularly hot in August. Through his first 17 games this month, he's hit .302/.392/.603 with four home runs and nine RBI. That was before his inside-the-park home run, too.
The Phillies and Giants came into Monday occupying the first and second wild card slots in the National League. The Phillies are two games up on the Giants, while the Giants are a half game up on the Chicago Cubs. Three teams are within a game of the Cubs for that final spot: the Arizona Diamondbacks, Cincinnati Reds, and Miami Marlins.