Ranger Suárez improves to 9-0, Harper homers in Phillies' 5-2 win over Rangers

PHILADELPHIA -- — Ranger Suárez stuck out 10 over seven innings and improved to 9-0 to lead the Philadelphia Phillies to their MLB-best 35th win, a 5-2 victory over the defending World Series champion Texas Rangers on Tuesday night.

Suárez's season-opening run rivals Hall of Famers Grover Alexander and Juan Marichal among the best in baseball history.

Bryce Harper hit his 11th homer of the season to help the Phillies win for the ninth time in 11 games and continue one of the best starts in franchise history.

The Phillies have won 35 of their first 49 games for the second time in franchise history (1976). The Phillies are 27-6 in their last 33 games, marking the first time since at least 1901 they have won 27 games in a 33-game span.

This season, no pitcher in baseball has been better than Suárez.

“He knows what it takes to win games,” Harper said.

The 28-year-old lefty walked off to a standing ovation in the seventh after he caught Leody Taveras looking on a 91.6 mph sinker to end the inning. Suárez took a no-decision in his first start of the season before he reeled of wins in nine straight starts.

“I just try to throw and do the best work that I can,” Suárez said through a translator.

Suárez lowered his ERA to 1.36, the third-lowest ERA by a Phillies pitcher in his first 10 starts of a season. Suárez trails Alexander, who had a 1.24 ERA in first 10 starts of 1916 and a 1.31 ERA in his first 10 starts of 1915.

Suárez is the first pitcher to start 9-0 with a sub-1.50 ERA through 10 starts since Marichal did it for the San Francisco Giants in 1966. Oh, he's also the first Phillies pitcher since Robin Roberts (1952) to win at least nine consecutive starts.

“It's kind of mind-boggling, this historic run that he's been on,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said.

José Alvarado worked a scoreless ninth for his ninth save.

Ranger bested the Rangers, and continued his reign as Philadelphia's top pitcher this season — no small feat for a rotation that already boasts Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler. Suárez walked two and gave up a run before he yielded to Jeff Hoffman in the eighth inning.

Corey Seager hit a solo shot off Hoffman in the eighth to make it 3-2.

Hoffman got only two outs before Matt Strahm retired Nathaniel Lowe on a sharp line drive to left field with two runners on to end the inning.

This three-game series comes oh-so-close to serving as a World Series rematch. The Rangers needed only five games to beat Arizona and win the franchise's first World Series — after Arizona won Games 6 and 7 in Philadelphia to rally and knock out the Phillies in the NL Championship Series.

Suárez fell into a rare early deficit after he gave up Marcus Semien's RBI single to left in the third.

The Phillies went ahead 2-1 off Jon Gray (2-2) on Kyle Schwarber's run-scoring single in the third and Alec Bohm's RBI single in the fourth. Harper connected off Rangers reliever Jacob Latz in the sixth for a 3-1 lead and help them snap a 12-game losing streak against the Rangers, that dates to 2014.

Bohm — who has 11 RBI over his seven-game hitting streak — knocked in his NL-best 44th RBI on a double in the eighth, and Bryson Stott followed with a sacrifice fly for a 5-2 lead.

“They're pitching well and they're getting big hits,” Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said. “They're a very good offensive club. They're one of the best team in baseball, right now, that's how well they're playing.”


Phillies shortstop Trea Turner took batting practice as part of his recovery from a left hamstring injury. Turner was hitting .343 with two homers, 10 doubles, nine RBI and 10 stolen bases before he was hurt earlier this month.


The Phillies send RHP Taijuan Walker (3-0, 4.91 ERA) to the mound in the second game of a three-game series. The Rangers did not name a starter.


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