Harper Torments Nat’s Faithful In Return To Washington
Harper’s homecoming better than scripted.
Bryce Harper returned to Washington for the first time in 2019, since signing a record breaking 13-year deal worth $330 million with the Philadelphia Phillies back on March 2nd. The anticipated game matching up the undefeated Phillies (3-0), with Harper’s ex-employers, saw the Nationals faithful give Harper a standing booing ovation, instead of welcoming one of their own, back home. We all knew that would happen after Harper turned down a 10-year, $300 million contract offer from the Nationals. But the boos quickly turned to cheers as Max Scherzer struck out Harper with an 85 MPH slider down in the zone.
In his second at bat, and a 3-2 count, Harper was punched out again by Scherzer with a cutter on the inside part of the plate. But it wouldn’t take long before the Las Vegas native would finally break through, as he doubled in the 5th inning, then in the 6th inning, he hit a run scoring single to put the Phillies up 6-0.
As for Harper’s teammates, they continued their winning ways, as they took an early 1-0 lead in the second inning on Maikel Franco‘s 3rd home run on the season. Then in the 4th, they added another solo run on a passed ball, scoring Odubel Herrera from third base.
In the 6th inning, the Phillies put up a four spot, taking a commanding 6-0 lead, highlighted by a Jean Segura two RBI double and Harper’s RBI single.
In the bottom of the frame, the Nats climbed back in the game to pull within two runs, after Anthony Rendon broke a no-hitter, with his first dinger on the season, a two run bomb.
But in the top of the eighth, Harper continued his onslaught with a towering two-run, 458 foot majestic bomb to right field landing in the upper deck, and instantly quieting the Washington faithful to a silent nothing, putting the Phillies up 8-2. The boos that had been reigning down all night just stopped, and the Phillies fans that made the trip to support their new superstar, celebrated with a roaring cheer, as Harper rounded the bases.
The Phillies bullpen shut down the Nationals the rest of the way, giving Philadelphia and Harper a drama filled victory for the ages. What was written to be the homecoming of the century, lived up to the hype. And folks this is just game 5 of the season, and game 1 of 20 against these two teams, whose rivalry will be one to watch in 2019.
With the victory, the Phillies remain spotless at 4-0, a half game up on the second place New York Mets (4-1), while the Nationals fell to 1-3.