Bryce Harper has two outfield assists in a two-inning span tonight, both on tremendous bullet throws in to second base, both of which wiped the leadoff hitter from the basepaths.
In the fifth, Harper went into a slide to cut off a Freddy Galvis base hit before it got into the left field corner, then hopped to his feet and threw out Galvis at second. Steve Lombardozzi applied the tag to Galvis after the Phillies’ left fielder had slid past the bag, and Harper pumped his fist as he saw second base ump Jeff Nelson make the out call.
In the sixth, Harper had to retreat to the warning track and make a barehanded grab of Carlos Ruiz’s ball off the wall, but he quickly turned and gunned Ruiz at second for the first out of the inning.
Not only were the two throws impressive testaments of Harper’s arm strength, they also were key plays, recording the first out of each inning instead of leaving the Phillies with a runner in scoring position.
Harper now has 12 outfield assists on the season, tied for second-most in the National League.
He isn’t the only Nationals outfielder who has gotten some fist pounds from teammates tonight, however.
Denard Span lifted a single to shallow left with one out in the sixth, extending his hitting streak to 24 games in what might be his final at-bat of the night.
Span had been 0-for-3 going into that sixth-inning at-bat, but he got in the hit column by going with a 2-2 Zach Miner fastball and dropping it just over the reach of shortstop Jimmy Rollins.
The longest hitting streak in Nationals history is 30 games, set by Ryan Zimmerman in 2009, and Span is getting closer and closer to that mark.
The Nats, meanwhile, still have a 6-1 lead in the seventh, and have their sights set on their seventh straight win.
Update: And there it is. The Nats close out a 6-1 win, giving them a seven-game winning streak and pushing them to nine games over .500 at 78-69.
Ross Ohlendorf improves to 4-0 on the season, and the Nats are now 6-0 in games in which he’s gotten the start. Wilson Ramos had a homer and three RBIs, Ian Desmond drove in two and Span extended his hitting streak to 24 games.
The Reds currently trail the Brewers 3-1 in the sixth, and if that score holds, the Nats will suddenly be just 4 1/2 games back of Cincinnati for the final National League wild card spot with 15 games to play.