On a cool Wednesday night in which the Capitals might be stealing some attention away from Washington baseball, those at Nationals Park are getting the full Bryce Harper experience.
In the second inning, Harper beat out an infield single on a slow roller, then was promptly picked off first base by Diamondbacks pitcher Joe Saunders.
Some good, some bad.
In the top of the fourth, Harper appeared to have tracked down a Justin Upton fly ball to center. He got in position, camped under it and looked ready to make the catch, only to throw his hands up suggesting he lost track of the ball as it sailed well over the center field wall for a home run.
That didn’t look pretty.
Harper then came up with two outs in the bottom of the fourth and came within mere feet of his first major league home run, sending a ball high off the scoreboard in right-center. The near-400-foot blast scored Danny Espinosa, tying the game at 2-2.
We like that.
One pitch after Harper’s double, Wilson Ramos smoked a ball off the glove of Arizona second baseman Aaron Hill, and the ball trickled into shallow center field. Hustling all the way, Harper tried to score from second, and while the throw from Hill beat Harper to the plate, the 19-year-old was able to knock the ball loose from catcher Miguel Montero’s mitt, making him safe at home.
That’ll make the highlight reels.
This is what you’re going to get from Harper. You’ll see some mistakes, some silly plays and over-aggressiveness on the basepaths. But you’re also going to get quality defense, the potential for lots of power and fantastic energy.
Thanks largely to Harper, the Nats lead the Diamondbacks 3-2 after five innings.
Update: Now they don’t lead at all.
Edwin Jackson allowed two runs in the sixth, giving the Diamondbacks a 4-3 edge. Jackson is done for the day, having gone six frames, allowing four earned runs on eight hits with three walks (one intentional) and three strikeouts.
Maybe Harper has a little more magic left in him to help prevent the losing streak from reaching six games.