Washington Nationals Recap: Bryce Harper Hits Third-Deck Homer in Win Over Dodgers

Jul 20, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper (34) hits a two run home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 20, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper (34) hits a two run home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit

The Washington Nationals defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers, 8-1, after Bryce Harper set the tone with a monster two-run homer in the first inning.

There are the regular Bryce Harper home runs, then there are Bryce Harper’s “absolutely-smashed-no-doubt-about-it-see-you-later” bombs.

Put that description on a Washington Nationals billboard. Or don’t, because it will probably get destroyed by a Harper home run.

Harper’s first inning, two-run shot was one of the longest ever hit at Nats park (451 feet) and set the tone for the evening. The Washington Nationals had nine hits — seven of them for extra-bases — in their 8-1 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers tonight in D.C. The win snaps a six-game losing streak against the Dodgers and sets up a rubber match in the series tomorrow.

More from District on Deck

After Reynaldo Lopez‘s pitching debut turned sour quickly in an 8-4 loss last night, Washington needed a quality start out of Gio Gonzalez (6-8, 4.53 ERA). The leftie delivered, throwing six strong innings while allowing just three hits and one earned run with six strikeouts and just two walks.

Yet another Daniel Murphy double and the Harper home run that followed gave the Nats an early two-run cushion.

In the top of the second, a two-out single to right field by Dodgers’ shortstop Charlie Culberson the scored Scott Van Slyke cut the Nats’ lead in half, 2-1.

Dodgers’ starter Bud Norris (5-8, 4.53 ERA) recovered quickly from the Harper moonshot and retired 12 straight Nats hitters before another homer came from the unlikely source of Ben Revere. Revere got a hold of a 3-2 fastball and hit it to right center for his second of the year.

Jayson Werth, the next batter, launched an 0-2 slider out to left to give the Nats a 4-1 lead. It was his 11th of the season and adds yet another back-to-back home run for Washington this year.

Gonzalez kept rolling after the Culberson RBI single, and retired the Dodgers 1-2-3 in the top of the sixth. The offense added one to the lead in the bottom half with a Wilson Ramos double that scored Bryce Harper from first. Ramos later scored on another Trea Turner triple (his second in two days) that gave the Nats a 6-1 lead.

Turner would score with pinch-hitter Clint Robinson at the plate later in the inning; Danny Espinosa got caught between first and second and drew attention away from Turner, who took off for home and slid in safe for a 7-1 lead.

Felipe Rivero came in for relief of Gonzalez and pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth with only a Howie Kendrick double to speak of. Anthony Rendon added another homer and put the Nats ahead, 8-1, with a solo shot to left in the bottom half of the eighth.

Koda Glover, Washington’s eighth-round pick of the 2015 draft, made his MLB debut in the ninth. He pitched a clean inning, touching 98 with his fastball.

Next: Washington Nationals News: Nats call up Koda Glover, who makes his big league debut

What’s Next: The 12:05 PM rubber-match will feature an intriguing pitching matchup. Stephen Strasburg (13-0, 2.51 ERA) will look to improve to 14-0 against youngster Julio Urias (1-2, 4.95 ERA) who is pitching again in the major leagues after being demoted in early July.