You can’t say Bryce Harper doesn’t take instruction well.
At Safeco Field, there’s an eatery on the second deck in right field called the Hit It Here Cafe. Guess where Harper deposited his ninth home run of the season in the second inning?
The mammoth blast, measured at 418 feet by the Mariners, staked Tanner Roark and the Nationals to a 1-0 lead. It was a no-doubter off the bat; the only question was how far it was going to carry. It glanced off a Plexiglass window of the cafe, bouncing back to the lower deck.
Coming into today’s game, Seattle starter Hisashi Iwakuma had a 22-inning scoreless streak in interleague play. That’s over now. Harper’s second homer of the series took care of that.
Update: Nate Schierholtz made his first hit as a National count. He launched a solo homer over the wall in right-center for a 2-0 lead in the third. The Nats have now hit 39 homers in August, the second-most total for any month in team history (the record is 53 in September 2012).
Update II: The Mariners strung together three hits in the bottom of the third, cutting the lead in half on an RBI single by Dusstin Ackley. Roark escaped further damage by getting Robinson Cano to bounce into an inning-ending double play.
Update III: Harper seems to like hitting in the Pacific Northwest. He just crushed a ball over the wall in center for a 3-1 Washington edge in the fourth. That’s the fifth two-homer game in his career.
Update IV: Ackley’s three-run homer in the fifth put the Mariners ahead 4-3. Roark yielded singles to Brad Miller and Austin Jackson before Ackley cleared the wall in right to erase the Nationals’ lead.
Update V: Roark is done after pitching 6 /13 innings. He allowed four runs on 11 hits, walking none and fanning four. Jerry Blevins came on to get out of a two-on, one-out situation and preserve the one-run deficit.
Update VI: Endy Chavez’s RBI single in the eighth put the Mariners up 5-3. Fernando Rodney is on to pitch the ninth.
Update IV: The Mariners salvage a 5-3 win and avert a sweep. It’s on to Los Angeles for the Nats.