PHILADELPHIA -- It could have been the heads-up pennies background or four-leaf clover avatar on the Phillies' official Twitter page. Perhaps it was Gabe Kapler's lucky T-shirt or Brad Miller's bamboo plant. Or maybe it was the curveball machine.
Yeah, it had to be the curveball machine.
Whatever the reason, the Phillies offense finally broke out Monday night in a way that was three weeks overdue.
Every player in the starting lineup, save pitcher Zach Eflin, had at least one hit. Jean Segura, Rhys Hoskins, Maikel Franco, and Jay Bruce homered. Bryce Harper notched a pair of RBI doubles. The Phillies scored in every inning except two, racked up a season-high 19 hits, and mashed in the manner in which general manager Matt Klentak intended when he put them together.
And at long, long last, they won. The Phillies throttled the New York Mets, 13-7, in the opener of a four-game series and snapped a seven-game losing streak that had Klentak answering questions before the game about Kapler's job security and whether the team will act as a buyer or a seller at the trade deadline in five weeks.
Harry Kalas' rendition of "High Hopes" played on Phanavision after the game, but for one night, the "Hallelujah Chorus" might have been a more appropriate selection. Not only did the Phillies pick up their first win since June 15, they were on the verge of gaining back a game on the division-leading Atlanta Braves, who were trailing in Chicago.
Desperate to change their fortunes, the Phillies resorted to superstition. Kapler dug out a blue "Fightin' Phils" T-shirt and wore it before the game. Miller, a utility infielder who had experienced one win since being acquired in a June 13 trade, brought in his lucky plant.
And in a more practical approach, Kapler held to his promise of breaking out the curveball machine for struggling hitters to use before the game in an attempt to simplify things at the plate, a practice employed by leadoff man Andrew McCutchen last month before he was lost for the season to a knee injury.
"One thing that we're implementing now is a very simple approach of staying on the fastball, hitting the fastball," Kapler said before the game. "We know that hanging breaking balls you don't have to sit on. You don't have to look for them or try to hit them. They sit up there. They spin. You can be on the fastball and blister a breaking ball."
Sure enough, Segura hit a curveball from Mets lefty Steven Matz for a homer in the first inning. Two batters later, Hoskins crushed a changeup. Harper pounded on sinkers for his run-scoring doubles in the second and fourth innings, the first time since May 30 that he had two extra-base hits in a game.