MIAMI - Despite being removed from the game in the seventh inning of tonight’s 9-2 Nationals win, Bryce Harper says he’s fine, and some minor quad tightness that he’s been feeling lately won’t keep him out of tomorrow’s lineup.
“I just fell,” Harper said of the play when he dropped to the infield dirt when trying to move from second to third in the seventh inning. “Tripped on my foot. Nothing with my hamstring or my quad or anything like that. Tripped over my ankle and just ran through.
“(The quad had) been tight since Friday. Nothing too serious. Getting treatment every day and it feels fine. Ready to go tomorrow.”
Harper had three of the Nats’ 11 extra-base hits tonight, and said the big hits were contagious.
“When everybody is hitting it, it really goes one through eight, or one through nine,” Harper said. “(Jordan Zimmermann) got two hits tonight. Going into today, we were really just trying to go in there and get some runs on the board and get some things going for Jordan. Got the W.”
Zimmermann’s last outing was the shortest of his career, as he lasted just 1 2/3 innings against the Marlins at Nats Park. Tonight, he went seven strong, allowing two runs and striking out seven.
“Yeah, it was a lot better today,” Zimmerman said. “I was getting ahead with the fastball and when I’m able to get ahead I can throw everything else. When I fall behind, that’s when I fall into trouble. The home run to (Garrett) Jones was a good pitch, right where I wanted it. He made good contact. A good piece of hitting. Overall, I felt good. I felt strong. I got a little tired there towards the end running the bases. Overall, it was a good start.
“I just told myself in the bullpen not to fly open so much and sit back on my back leg a little more. That’s basically it. I went out there and felt good. Felt good in the bullpen. When I got on the mound, it carried over.”
Sandy Leon’s two-run homer in the seventh didn’t just give the Nats a 9-2 lead, it also marked the catcher’s first big league longball.
“It’s really awesome,” a smiling Leon said afterwards. “Really good. I’m happy. I wasn’t trying to hit a homer right there but that happens. I was trying to make contact and put the ball in play.”
What were his teammates saying to him in the dugout afterwards?
“Congrats on your first big league homer. Smile, smile, smile,” Leon said. “I wasn’t smile. It was funny.”
The Nats were able to make a trade with the fan who caught Leon’s home run, and the ball was waiting for him after the game.
“I have the ball in my locker,” Leon said. “I don’t who the fans (are). I don’t what they give him. But thank you for that.”