National

Bryce Harper posts 3-HR night to break season-opening hitless streak

Bryce Harper entered Tuesday on a hitless streak to open the season. He ended that streak. Loudly.

The Philadelphia Phillies slugger posted the second three-home run game of his career in a 9-4 win over the Cincinnati Reds, with a series of progressively wilder long balls.

He struck first in the first inning, crushing a Graham Ashcraft sinker 420 feet to center field for his first hit of the season. Harper had previously been 0-for-11 in three games to open the season.

Harper struck next in the fourth inning, breaking a 1-1 tie with a line drive that looked like it had no business clearing the right field wall. The ball was struck 103.3 mph with a launch angle of 19 degrees, carrying just enough to get over fence.

The homer was also the 1,000th run of Harper's career.

Harper put an exclamation point on the night in the seventh inning, with a full count and the bases loaded. Already leading 4-1, Harper doubled the Phillies' output with a 422-foot grand slam to right-center, the seventh of his career.

Harper entered Tuesday hitting .000/.154/.000. He exited it hitting .200/.294/.800.

Those three homers helped lift the Phillies to a much-needed win (as much as a win can be needed in early April) following a rough opening series against the division rival Atlanta Braves and a 6-3 loss to the Reds on Monday. Not a bad night for a player who was somewhat questionable to open the season with a back issue.

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