SAN FRANCISCO -- When the Giants offered Bryce Harper $310 million in February, they knew there was little chance of him living up to the contract. But as team officials watched him make Oracle Park look remarkably small Friday night, perhaps there were some second thoughts. Perhaps he would have been worth every penny.
Harper hit two loud homers, the second one splashing down in McCovey Cove and proving to be the difference in a game the Giants lost 9-6. Phillies manager Gabe Kapler, looking for a spark, put Harper in the leadoff spot. He got an inferno, and the Giants got a demoralizing look at the one that got away.
This is Harper's first trip to San Francisco since he chose the Phillies over the Giants, but he said that wasn't really on his mind. After putting a beatdown on Giants pitchers, he complimented the fans and organization.
"Larry and Farhan, it was always great meeting with them this offseason," he said. "We had great conversations and I have nothing but respect for them personally and the Giants organization as a whole. They've been successful for so long -- three World Series, things like that.
"They're a great organization. I don't even think about that when I'm out on the field."
The Giants will never be able to face Harper without thinking about it, though. They jumped into the derby late, but felt in late February that they really had a good shot at putting him in the center of their lineup. Instead, Harper came back as public enemy No. 1 for much of the fan base.
Harper was lightly booed Thursday in his first game in San Francisco since signing with the Phillies, but it ramped up quite a bit on a Friday night, and he certainly noticed.
Tyler Beede made Harper look foolish on a two-strike changeup in the first inning, but Harper got his revenge when Beede hung one in the fifth. He hit a moonshot 420 feet to dead center, giving the Phillies a two-run lead. As Harper crossed the plate, he acknowledge the boos by holding a finger to his lips and shushing the crowd. Asked why he was livelier than usual, Harper said it "just depends on what people say."
"I think there are certain things that people say that people shouldn't say and shouldn't come out of their mouths," he said. "That's part of sports, I guess. That's part of fan bases. San Fran has got a great fan base, they love their team, they love their city. It's a lot of fun going back and forth. It's good."
The Giants rallied right back, taking the lead in the sixth when Stephen Vogt hit one into McCovey Cove and the lineup scratched another run across shortly thereafter. But Vogt's Splash Hit would soon be overshadowed.
Tony Watson immediately ran into trouble in what would go down as one of the roughest outings of his career, putting two on ahead of Harper in the seventh. He tried to go down and away with a 2-2 slider but left it up and in. Harper absolutely demolished it, landing his second career Splash Hit (the first, in 2014, famously led to a plunking years later).
Harper stood for a second and watched as the ball screamed off the bat at 113.7 mph, soared over the deepest part of the arcade section and splashed down 456 feet from the plate. It was the second-longest homer of the year at Oracle Park. Both of Harper's homers were hit harder than 113 mph; the Giants have had just one player -- Pablo Sandoval on three doubles -- clear that mark this season.
There was no shushing this time. Just a raucous celebration at the plate and in the dugout as boos rained down.
"It's always fun coming into hostile environments and hostile situations," he said. "I've seen this stadium erupt, just like in 2014 when we were here in the playoffs. It's always fun."
That might have been the case for Harper, but this night wasn't much fun for an organization that hoped to move forward with him as the centerpiece.