BOSTON — Drew Smyly said it two weeks ago, when Bryce Harper hit two home runs to power a Phillies victory in San Francisco. And he repeated it last week, after Harper stunned the Chicago Cubs with a game-winning grand slam.

When Harper comes to the plate, Smyly says, it’s almost expected that he will deliver.

Cue the fifth inning here Wednesday night. Trailing by one run, having been held scoreless in the previous 12 innings by the Boston Red Sox, the Phillies needed a hit in the worst way. Harper, of course, delivered once again, launching a two-run homer into the third row of seats atop Fenway Park's fabled Green Monster.

Do you believe in clutch?

Smyly would say it has long hair and a beard.

Harper’s latest well-timed power stroke provided a lead that five relievers preserved in a 5-2 victory. The Phillies completed a two-game, mini-sweep of the Red Sox and won for the sixth time in eight games to at least keep pace in the National League wild-card race.

“He’s the guy on the team who’s going to help carry us,” Smyly said. “His swing was huge, obviously, to take the lead. But just the bullpen, to put up zero after zero the rest of the game, those guys were great.”

Indeed, let’s talk about that bullpen. Jared Hughes, rookie Ranger Suarez, Mike Morin, Jose Alvarez, and Hector Neris — only two of whom (Alvarez and Neris) were on the Phillies’ roster on June 15 — passed the baton for 5⅓ scoreless innings in relief of Smyly, holding the Red Sox to three hits and one walk. Combine that with Tuesday night and Phillies relievers shipped out of Boston without giving up a run in 7⅓ innings.

And now, as a reward, they get a day off Thursday in Miami before beginning a three-game series with the league-worst Marlins, against whom the Phillies nevertheless are only 6-7 this season.

“It’s one of the best lineups in baseball, and our pitchers did a good job for two days straight," manager Gabe Kapler said. “Our bullpen, in particular, was excellent tonight.”

Phillies starting pitcher Drew Smyly delivers against the Red Sox.
Charles Krupa / AP
Phillies starting pitcher Drew Smyly delivers against the Red Sox.

Hughes set the tone, replacing Smyly with two outs and the bases loaded in the fourth inning and getting reigning American League MVP Mookie Betts to ground out. He also got a big double play in the fifth inning to erase a leadoff walk.

Kapler highlighted Alvarez, a lefty acquired in an offseason trade that didn’t get much attention. He provided another scoreless inning and has quietly posted a 1.79 ERA since April 19. But Suarez was strong for four outs, and Morin got a couple of key outs before Neris tossed a scoreless ninth inning.

“Alvarez is worth calling out as a really important offseason acquisition at this point," Kapler said. “He’s been among our most dependable relievers. He goes through right and left. We don’t feel like we have to get him out at the first sign of a righty. Super, super gutsy.”

The Phillies had only six hits, but four went for extra bases.

Rhys Hoskins delivered his first extra-base hit in 52 plate appearances, a one-out double in the third inning. Corey Dickerson snapped an 0-for-11 skid in the seventh inning with an RBI triple that rattled around Fenway’s right-field corner, then added an RBI single to center field in the ninth inning.

As usual, though, Harper had the biggest swing — and it swung the game in the Phillies’ favor. He has eight homers and an .872 slugging percentage in his last 13 games, numbers that suggest Smyly’s feeling about Harper’s knack for coming through in big spots isn’t simply anecdotal.

“I thought it was really interesting: there were some hecklers, I don’t know who they were, but they were on him pretty good up until that moment," said Kapler, who declined to elaborate on the content of the heckling. “It was a pretty celebratory moment for the dugout because of that.”

Smyly lasted for only 3⅔ innings, hardly the long-distance start that the Phillies need from the non-Nola members of the rotation.

It could have been worse, though. Smyly gave up five hits and three walks, but for all of that traffic on the bases, the Red Sox scored only two runs, on back-to-back doubles by Mookie Betts and Rafael Devers in the first inning and a solo homer by Jackie Bradley in the second.

The deficit was more than manageable, if only the Phillies could jump-start their offense. No dice through four innings, as they generated only one hit and three walks. After scoring three runs in the first inning Tuesday night, they were held scoreless for 12 subsequent innings. They had only one hit in the last nine innings.

But the drought ended in the fifth. Cesar Hernandez led off with a double, advanced on a wild pitch, and scored when Devers couldn’t handle catcher Christian Vazquez’s throw to third. Adam Haseley worked a walk, setting up Harper for another big moment.

“I remember what it’s like to play here," Kapler said, “and how difficult it is for a team to come in and beat this team in the middle of the summer, defending world champions. Just a good, all-around team performance.”