Gregorius’ HR rallies Phillies past Pirates

PHILADELPHIA — Didi Gregorius hit a go-ahead, three-run home run in the seventh inning, Bryce Harper had an RBI double and the Philadelphia Phillies pulled closer to first place in the NL East with an 8-6 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night.

Philadelphia moved within a game of first-place Atlanta after the Braves lost 6-5 to San Diego in the completion of a suspended game that was halted in the fifth inning on July 21. The Braves were set to play their regularly scheduled game at San Diego later Friday night.

The Phillies bullpen tied a major league record with its 34th blown save, but Philadelphia still won its fourth straight and eighth in 10 games. Brad Miller also went deep, Hector Neris (4-6) pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings and Ian Kennedy earned his 26th save and 10th since joining the Phillies at the trade deadline with a scoreless ninth.

After Pittsburgh took a 6-5 lead in the seventh on Wilmer Difo’s pinch-hit drive against Cam Bedrosian, the Phillies went ahead in the bottom of the inning.

Harper, serenaded with “M-V-P! M-V-P!” chants from the 20,548 in attendance, led off with a walk. After two outs, Andrew McCutchen hit a dribbler down the third-base line that stayed fair for an infield hit.

Gregorius followed by sending on an 0-1, 80-mph slider from Chasen Shreve (3-2) over the wall in right. It was the 13th homer of the season and second in two nights for Gregorius.

Neris avoided blown save No. 35, but it wasn’t easy. He wriggled out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth by getting Ke’Bryan Hayes to ground out. Neris fielded the grounder, pumped his fists, jogged to first base himself and stomped on the bag with both feet before celebrating.