It was subtle, but Nationals left fielder Bryce Harper made his presence felt early in his first game back in the lineup since April 25. Harper, who had missed 57 games with a torn ligament in his left thumb, fired a laser beam to first base after Rockies first baseman Justin Morneau connected on a base hit towards him in the first inning.
The throw caught Morneau in no man’s land, between first and second baseman. Because Jordan Zimmermann was covering home plate, Adam LaRoche had no one to throw back to first to tag Morneau in a subsequent run down.
The throw didn’t result in an out that time, and Zimmermann struck out Wilin Rosario to end the Rockies threat, but the throw by Harper certainly had the crowd a buzz that the 21-year-old phenom will keep runners honest with his powerful arm.
No score after one inning at Nationals Park.
Update: In the fourth after two outs and a Ryan Zimmerman double, Harper smacked a clean single to score Zimmerman. It was the Nationals’ first run of the game for a 1-0 lead.
Update II: In the sixth, Troy Tulowitzki hit a run-scoring double and the Rockies tied the game 1-1. Three batters later, with men on first and third, Ryan Wheeler’s lined out to center field. Denard Span’s throw home was on target, but one hopped to Wilson Ramos, who dropped it momentarily. His tag of Tulowitzki at home was late, and the Rockies took a 2-1 lead.
Update III: The Nationals had a big five-run sixth inning, one that was highlighted by a three-run double from Ian Desmond and an RBI double courtesy of Zimmerman, which gave the Nationals a 6-2 lead.
Zimmermann finished six innings, allowing seven hits, two earned runs, one walk and struck out five Rockies. He twirled 87 pitches, 60 for strikes.
He has allowed two earned runs or less in six consecutive starts.
Update IV: LaRoche crushed his 12th homer over the right field fence in the seventh to give the Nats a 7-2 lead.
Update V: A wild pitch by Aaron Barrett allowed Tulowitzki to score a run in the eighth and cut the Nationals’ lead to 7-3.
Update VI: Jerry Blevins came on to toss a scoreless ninth and the Nationals have now won three in a row and five of their last eight.
Harper finished with an RBI single, intentional walk and a run scored in his first game since late April.
Zimmermann is now 6-4 as Flande falls to 0-1.
Final score: Nationals 7, Rockies 3.