Harper hits first career leadoff homer (Nats win 9-3)

I think Bryce Harper likes batting leadoff.

Harper-Hair-Flip-Gray-Sidebar.jpgIn his first game of the season batting from the leadoff spot in the order on Tuesday night, Harper hit a three run shot in his third at-bat.

Wednesday night, he hit a leadoff homer in the bottom of the first against Pirates starter Ivan Nova.

Matt Adams, who hit two homers Tuesday, dropped in an opposite field homer over the left field wall.

The Pirates got on the board in the first thanks to a pair of one-out singles by Gregory Polanco and Starling Marte and back-to-back fielder's choices at second base. The first fielder's choice call was originally recorded as an out at second but then overturned on replay. The second fielder's choice was called out and held up on replay when Howie Kendrick pivoted at second to throw to first. That play was off the bat of Corey Dickerson, who was credited with a fielder's choice RBI.

With two homers in the first inning, the Nationals have now hit six homers in the past seven innings. They had hit six homers in their previous 45 frames before the last two night's offensive explosion.

Mid-second, the Nationals lead the Pirates 2-1.

Update: The Bucs have made good contact against Stephen Strasburg. In the third, Polanco doubled with one out, Starling Marte singled and Josh Bell walked. Dickerson's RBI single scored Polanco. The Pirates have five hits off of Strasburg through three innings.

Mid-third, the Pirates and the Nationals are tied at 2-2.

Update II: Harper led off the third inning with a double, and later scored thanks to an RBI single from Adams. Harper and Adams have combined for a double, two homers, four total hits and three RBIs in their first two at-bats. Trea Turner also earned a single by diving into the base on a ground ball.

After three innings, the Nats lead the Pirates 3-2.

Update III: In the fourth inning, Pedro Severino scored on a fielder's choice off the bat of Harper to second base. In the fifth, the Nats plated four runs on three hits, highlighted by another RBI single from Harper.

After five innings, the Nats lead the Pirates 8-2.

Update IV: Francisco Cervelli hit a solo shot in the top of the sixth. The Nats countered with a Kendrick double and then an Andrew Stevenson RBI single.

Nova finished 4 2/3 innings, allowing eight runs (five earned) on 11 hits with two walks and five strikeouts. He threw 94 pitches, 59 for strikes.

After six innings, the Nats lead the Pirates 9-3. The Nats have 13 hits.

Update V: For the 38th time in his career, Strasburg recorded 10 or more strikeouts in a game. It is the second time he has pulled off the feat this season, he recorded 10 strikeouts on April 21 at the Dodgers. He finished seven innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on seven hits with one walk and a season-high 11 strikeouts.

After seven, the Nats lead the Pirates 9-3.

Update VI: Trevor Gott pitched a scoreless eighth, allowing one hit and one walk. Carlos Torres pitched the ninth. David Freese lined out to first base. Jordy Mercer grounded out to short. Adam Frazier singled up the middle. Max Moroff struck out to end the game.

Final score: the Nats 9, the Pirates 3. The Nats have won four in a row.

After collision last night, Chance Sisco is ready ...
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