Bryce Harper hopes big hit will be big boost into Atlanta

The Nationals did not win the game, but they did get a key ninth-inning play from an important player that could open the door to a surge before the All-Star break.

The Rockies ended up beating the Nationals 11-10 in 11 innings Thursday, but it would not have been that way had it not been for Bryce Harper.

Throughout the series against Colorado, Harper wasn’t getting much to hit or, he felt, many calls.

“The whole series they were pitching me out and up,” Harper said. “They didn’t throw me one strike the whole series.”

Then, with his team down 10-9 in their final at-bat and desperate to keep the game going against a mediocre Rockies squad, Harper delivered a moon shot.

“I got a pitch over the plate and drove it,” Harper said.

Harper unleashed a huge, game-tying homer off of Rockies closer Rafael Betancourt to even the contest 10-10. He felt that was just what the team needed to pull the off the comeback.

“I thought after (Ian Desmond) got that double (in the 10th) we were going to get one in (and win it),” Harper said.

Harper admitted it has not been an easy month for him at the plate, but this breakthrough might help him get going at the right time.

“It is a little tough right now, but I will grow and get older,” Harper said. “They won’t be able to do that anymore. I’ll start taking my walks. The past two weeks been a little rough. I’ll get going.”

Similar to last month when the team ventured to Atlanta for a critical series and swept the Braves, the Nationals know the importance this weekend brings. With the series coming at the end of a 10-game road swing, the Nationals will have to dig deep to hold off a Braves team that can see an opportunity to alter the look of the National League East in one difference-making weekend.

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