Bryce Harper's 1st HR not enough as Red Sox's win streak reaches 8

PHILADELPHIA -- Bryce Harper's first homer of the season wasn't enough to prevent the Boston Red Sox from winning their eighth straight game, 7-4, against the slumping Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday night.

The 30-year-old Harper, batting as the designated hitter, was playing in his fourth game since returning from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow on Nov. 23. The two-time National League MVP drove a full-count 89 mph sinker from right-hander Corey Kluber (2-4) to the opposite field and over the wall in left-center with nobody on and one out in the fifth inning, cutting Philadelphia's deficit to 5-3. It was his 286th homer and 102nd with the Phillies.

The Phillies, though, were in no mood to celebrate the long ball after their sixth straight loss. In a somber home clubhouse, Harper, usually readily available to media, did not address reporters postgame. Asked about Harper's homer, Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto curtly said, "It was good."

Right now, Philly isn't having fun.

For Boston, however, the locker room music was blaring nearly as loud as the sound of the crack of Red Sox bats of late.

Rafael Devers had three hits and two RBIs to lead the Red Sox to their longest winning streak since July 2021.

"Credit to the guys," Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. "They work hard on their craft, they work hard on their game plan and they're executing."

The sellout crowd of 43,832 at Citizens Bank Park 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 Padres immediately went down as one of the top moments in Philadelphia sports history.

Harper also had a hard-hit single to right field in the third inning, and now he has six hits in 16 at-bats since his return.

Prior to the game, Masataka Yoshida met with Harper, the baseball idol of the Red Sox outfielder. Harper gave the Japanese native two bats, including a signed bat that Harper used in the NLCS last season. He also gifted Yoshida a pair of his cleats. Yoshida's Instagram handle (BH--Masataka34) begins with Harper's first and last initial and includes his former uniform number, 34. Yoshida, riding a 15-game hitting streak, received a scheduled day off on Saturday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.