Kyle Schwarber [1296x729]
Kyle Schwarber [1296x729] (Credit: Photo by Heather Barry/Getty Images)

Griner It means everything to wear USA jersey

All-Star reliever Matt Strahm got two-time MVP Shohei Ohtani flailing at an 83 mph slider for strike three in the seventh inning, leaving the tying runs on base and preserving Philadelphia's lead. The Phillies won again without Bryce Harper, defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-3 on Wednesday night.

"He's one of the greatest ever to pick up a bat," Strahm said. "It's cool."

The left-handed Strahm inherited runners on the corners in the seventh and the Phillies nursing a 4-2 lead when Ohtani was introduced to the tune of nearly 42,000 boos from another packed house in South Philly -- "like a playoff game," manager Rob Thomson said -- and the game on the line.

Strahm threw one slider as part of two quick strikes and then a ball, a 1-2 count that had fans standing and roaring on a nationally televised game.

He got Ohtani -- the Dodgers' $700 million global phenomenon -- and fans erupted in a scene straight out of Philadelphia's crazed October atmosphere.

"You're obviously aware of who's in the box," Strahm said. "Again, the energy of these fans is unmatched."

With another batter due up, Strahm had no time to exhale and completely savor the moment. He retired Teoscar Hernandez on a flyball to escape the jam and pushed the Phillies toward their 60th win of the season.

The Phillies again beat Ohtani and the NL West leaders without Harper, out this time because of a bruised left hand. Harper had missed the previous nine games with a strained left hamstring until he returned for Tuesday's 10-1 win. A two-time NL MVP, Harper was hurt at an unspecified point, though he clearly grabbed his hand and hunched over in pain on a second-inning chopper by Miguel Rojas.

Kyle Schwarber hit his eighth leadoff homer of the season to help offset Harper's absence.

The Dodgers made it 4-3 in the eighth. Jeff Hoffman -- one of seven Phillies selected for the NL All-Star team -- tossed a scoreless ninth inning for his ninth save.

"We know we stack up with those guys, they know that we stack up with them," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "Unfortunately, we haven't won two games. I still think we have a pretty good ballclub."

Key cogs Harper, catcher J.T. Realmuto (out until after the All-Star break), outfielder Brandon Marsh and Schwarber have all been on the injured list for the Phillies this season. All-Star pitcher Zack Wheeler is fighting back stiffness.

Yet nothing has truly slowed a Phillies team determined to win the World Series, something they could not do -- losing in Houston in 2022; losing to Arizona in the NL Championship Series in 2023 -- each of the past two seasons.

If the Phillies are looking for that one last push ahead of the All-Star break to chase 70 wins at a franchise-record pace, a three-game weekend series against the Oakland A's might get them there.

Cristopher Sánchez (7-4) struck out five and allowed two runs in six innings for the Phillies on another sticky night in Philly. He coughed up a 2-0 lead, and the Dodgers tied it on Ohtani's RBI single in the fifth.

Sánchez has a 1.50 ERA (11 earned runs in 66 innings) in his 10 home starts this season.

Whit Merrifield -- who led the American League with 10 triples in 2019 but hadn't hit one since 2022 -- opened the fifth with a lazy fly to center that Andy Pages lost in the lights. Merrifield hightailed it around first and landed on third for his 27th career triple. After Garrett Stubbs and Schwarber failed to hit the ball out of the infield, Merrifield scored on Trea Turner's grounder. Turner made it to third on All-Star Alec Bohm's NL-best 32nd double and scored on Bryson Stott's infield single for a 4-2 lead.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.