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The story from Saturday night should have been that the Philadelphia Phillies beat the San Diego Padres by a score of 4 to 2. 

After dropping a three-game set to the Padres at Citizens Bank Park in May, the Phillies have now tied up the season series with the Friars at three wins apiece. Zach Eflin pitched five solid innings, quieting any concerns about the sore knee that shortened his last two starts. Kyle Schwarber extended his on-base streak to 29 games and stole his fourth base of the season. J.T. Realmuto hit his second home run in three days, and Alec Bohm hit two doubles—promising signs for hitters who have been slumping badly all year. 

The bullpen was excellent, pitching four scoreless innings to close out the game. Andrew Bellatti struck out the side in the sixth, while Corey Knebel threw a clean seventh. Brad Hand shut down the middle of the order in the eighth, and Seranthony Domínguez induced three groundouts in the ninth to earn his second save of the season. 

That's what should have been the story of this game. It was a solid victory against a very good team. Several players who have struggled recently were able to step up, and the bullpen was lights out. This should have been a fun night of Phillies baseball.

But as you know, as I know, as we all know, that's not the story of this game. Philadelphia's victory is secondary news. Because while the Phillies may have won the game, they lost something much more important.

In the fourth inning on Saturday, Blake Snell lost control of his fastball and threw it way up and in, hitting Bryce Harper in the hand. Harper immediately dropped to the ground in pain, as Padres catcher Jorge Alfaro called for help from the Philadelphia's dugout. 

Harper knew the injury was bad, and as soon as he was able to stand he walked right off the field. The reigning MVP was shaking with both pain and anger as he left the game.

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His teammates picked him up, scoring three runs in the next inning, but it was hard for anyone to celebrate too much. Even as Realmuto crushed a home run to deep left field, Yairo Muñoz drove in Bohm with a RBI groundout, and Schwarber brought in Didi Gregorius with a single past a diving Jake Cronenworth, a sense of darkness loomed over the game. 

Philadelphia won, but it didn't exactly feel like a victory.

Bryce Harper fell to the ground in pain after being hit by a 97 MPH fastball from Blake Snell.

Bryce Harper fell to the ground in pain after being hit by a 97 MPH fastball from Blake Snell.

With a great start to June, the Phillies finally dug themselves out of a massive hole, thanks in large part to Harper's bat. They'll have their work cut out for them to stay in the postseason race with their best player out of the lineup for a prolonged period of time. 

It remains unclear how long Harper will be out of commission, but he won't be back any time soon. Thus, while the team waits for an update about his recovery timeline, their only choice is to look forward. If some of the other hitters start to produce more consistently—Realmuto and Bohm showed signs of life last night—then Philadelphia can remain afloat without their MVP. They have to. After all that Harper has done for this team, it's time for the rest of the lineup to step up in his place. 

The Phillies won on Saturday night, but it was a bittersweet victory. They won the battle, but the war just got a whole lot harder. 

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