History was made at Nats Park on Wednesday afternoon as Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper became the fourth National in franchise history to hit three home runs in one game. Harper had five RBIs as well in the Nats’ 7-2 win over the Miami Marlins (13-15). Washington took two of three from Miami and they have now won three consecutive series.
It didn’t start well for the Nationals, even with Max Scherzer on the mound. In the second inning, Miami would put up four straight hits to take a 2-0 lead. Those run scoring hits came on RBI singles from Ichiro Suzuki and Adeiny Hechavarria. The Marlins had a chance for more, but Ryan Zimmerman made an excellent play on a bunt by Tom Koehler as he went to second base with the ball to begin a 3-6-4 double play to help limit the damage.
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In the bottom of the second, the Nationals would get one run back when Harper hit his first home run of the day, a solo shot to left to lead off the inning. During that inning, Wilson Ramos would hit a double to left center to extend his hitting streak to 11 games.
In the third inning, after back-to-back doubles by Denard Span and Ian Desmond, Yunel Escobar would tie the game with a sacrifice fly to left field. That set the stage for Harper as he belted his second home run of the day into the upper deck in right field to give the Nats a 4-2 lead.
Two innings later, Harper’s home runs would not stop there. Koehler, who eventually took the loss, decided to go with the slider in this at-bat, but the 22-year old made him pay by hitting another home run to the upper deck in right field. It was his third home run of the day and eighth on the season, which made the score 5-2.
Washington would tack on two more runs in the bottom of the seventh inning on a RBI single by Escobar and a RBI groundout to second base by Harper, his fifth RBI of the day, to make the score 7-2.
However, despite being down five runs, the Marlins would mount a comeback against Scherzer in the eighth. After back-to-back singles by Dee Gordon and Martin Prado, Giancarlo Stanton crushed a three-run homer to left on Scherzer’s 114th pitch of the day. His seventh home run of the season cut the Nats lead to 7-5.
Even though he gave up five runs, Max Scherzer (2-3, 2.11) was his same dominant self for most of the game. In seven innings, he gave up the aforementioned five runs on ten hits, but he struck out ten and did not walk a batter. Scherzer has had back-to-back starts of ten strikeouts and eight or more K’s in five out of six starts this year.
Matt Williams would bring in Tanner Roark, but Roark allowed back-to-back singles to Justin Bour and J.T. Realmuto to begin his outing. He would settle down and get Ichiro to strike out swinging on a curveball and Adeiny Hechavarria to groundout to third to get out of the jam.
Closer Drew Storen would get into a little bit of trouble in the ninth. He began the inning by hitting Donovan Solano and allowing a single to left field off the bat of Gordon. Facing the heart of the Marlins order, Storen would get Prado to fly out to right and get Stanton and Marcell Ozuna to strike out swinging to end the game for his eighth save of the season in nine chances.
Next Game: After a day off Thursday, the Washington Nationals (14-15) will be back in action Friday night at 7:05 PM ET (on MASN2) as they begin a three game series with the Atlanta Braves (13-14) at Nats Park. Eric Stults (1-2, 4.91 ERA) will get the start for the Braves against fellow lefty Gio Gonzalez (2-2, 3.86 ERA) for the Nationals.