HARRISBURG, Pa. - Senators left fielder Bryce Harper displayed some diversity and creativity in his offensive game Wednesday, as Double-A Harrisburg edged the Erie SeaWolves 4-3, before 3,052 at Metro Bank Park.
Many fans have gotten used to the 32 extra base hits Harper produced at Single-A Hagerstown. But in his third game at the Double-A level, Harper showed how he is growing into a complete baseball player by adding facets to his hitting.
Harper stroked three singles, the first one for an RBI that was originally called an error. He had his first professional sacrifice bunt that advanced runners to second and third, stole a base, finishing 3-for-3 to raise his average to .500.
The bunt was one of the more impressive at-bats for Harper in his third Double-A game. With Tyler Moore on second and Chris Rahl on first, Harper laid down a very good bunt on the first base line that was fielded by the pitcher and thrown to the second baseman covering first for the sacrifice.
“There was a runner on first and second and I got jammed up a little bit,” Harper said. “My hand was hurting a little bit. So I tried to lay it down and get the runners over. It worked out.”
Manager Tony Beasley said the bunt was not called by the coaches, that was all Harper.
Harper’s sacrifice bunt paid huge dividends, because the very next batter, Archie Gilbert, followed with a long two-run double that gave the Senators a 4-0 lead they would never relinquish.
His hand was fine in his final at-bat when he battled back from 0-2 to lace a single to center field.
“It is pretty difficult going down 0-2 with a reliever like that having good off-speed stuff,” Harper said. “He was throwing 90 to 93 mph with a little bit of sink. I tried to see a pitch up and tried to battle it and it worked out.”
It has been only three games at his new position in left field, but Harper said he has had a lot of help to get acclimated.
“Being able to have (outfield coordinator) Tony Tarasco around me and Rahl out there in center field (is important),” Harper said. “They know how to play it out there and all I have to do is listen. I feel good out there. So, anywhere they need me I will play.”
Harper said he feels like he has hit the ground running in his first three games with Harrisburg and his teammates have made him feel comfortable.
“I am really happy to be here,” Harper said. “I had a great stint in Hagerstown, I loved it down there with all the guys I was with. Now I am here and I am having a lot of fun with every body and I am ready to get going.”
Right-hander Shairon Martis (6-3) showed big-league form with another sterling performance for the victory. Martis went seven innings, allowed four hits, one earned run, two walks and six strikeouts. He fired 93 pitches, 63 for strikes. Rafael Martin pitched a scoreless ninth for his third save.
Erie right-hander Brooks Brown was tagged with the loss (4-4). SeaWolves’ center fielder Jamie Johnson hit a two-run shot in the eighth to make it a 4-3 Harrisburg game.