BOWIE, Md. - Nationals’ top prospect Bryce Harper delivered a pair of doubles to bookend the biggest inning of the season for the Senators, an eight-run outburst in the fifth inning, as Double-A Harrisburg cruised past the Bowie Baysox 13-2 before 6,375 Monday night in Bowie.
Harper, playing his closest professional game to date to his future home at Nationals Park, smacked two doubles off of Orioles’ hurler Zach Britton in the worst loss of the season for Bowie. The Baysox’s previous largest margin of defeat was nine runs at Erie on April 23.
Harrisburg manager Tony Beasley said Harper needed the confidence he got from having good at-bats against Britton.
“His first at-bat (in the fifth) he hit the double to left,” Beasley said. “Harper runs the bases aggressively all the time any how. He got things started and then at the back end of that he got the 3-0 pitch over the plate and lined it into right field. It was good for him because Britton is tough. He is a major league pitcher, basically, so for (Harper) to have that type of at-bat is really, really impressive.”
The 13 runs were a season-high total for the Senators’ offense. It was only Harrisburg’s second win in their past eight games.
The 13 runs on offense almost matched a weeks worth of games. In seven games at Richmond over the weekend, Harrisburg scored 14 total runs.
Stephen King delivered a three-run triple and Bill Rhinehart grooved a three-run homer deep over the right field fence at Prince George’s stadium, a mere 21 miles east of Nationals Park. The eight-run explosion quickly erased an early 1-0 deficit, sending Britton to the showers after 4 2/3 innings.
Harper went 2-for-4 with two doubles, a run, a RBI flyout to center field in five plate appearances. He now has three doubles in his last two games.
Chris McConnell and Derek Norris also contributed two hits apiece and a pair of RBIs. Seven of the nine field players for Harrisburg had at least two hits. It was also the Senators’ largest margin of victory this season.
The Senators’ Tanner Roark won for the first time in six starts, going eight innings, allowing four hits, one unearned run, no walks and seven strikeouts, to improve to 5-7. Pat McCoy allowed one run in the ninth.