Bryce Harper returned to Nationals Park in grand style. Going 3-5 with a two-run homer, leading the Phillies to an 8-2 win over the Washington Nationals.
The atmosphere was electric at Nationals Park on Tuesday night as the Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies met for the first time this season.
In the bottom of the first inning with two men on, we got our first glimpse at the matchup we all had been waiting for. Nationals ace Max Scherzer squared off against Ex-Nat Bryce Harper. Scherzer won the first round, striking out Harper and stranging two getting out of a scoreless top of the first.
In the bottom of the first inning Nationals shortstop, Trea Turner was squaring to bunt and was hit on the finger, forcing him to exit the game.
The Phillies started the scoring in the top of the second when their third basemen Maikel Franco hit a deep solo shot to left, giving the visitors an early 1-0 lead.
Harper and Scherzer squared off again in the third with the bases empty, and once again Max won the battle striking out Bryce on six pitches.
Philidelphia once again got to Max in the fourth, after a two-out double by centerfielder Odubel Herrera. Cesar Hernandez followed with an infield single, and a free pass to Franco loaded the bases for Phillies starter Zach Eflin. With a 2-2 count, Scherzer threw a ball that got by Nationals catcher Yan Gomes, allowing Hererra to score and make it a 2-0 Phillies lead.
Mad Max was right back in trouble again in the top of the fifth. With two outs Jean Segura reached on an infield hit, setting up round three of Bryce vs. Max. Harper won this battle, lacing a double to left, setting up runners at second and third with just one down. In the biggest spot of his night, Scherzer brought out his Cy-Young stuff, striking out Rhys Hoskins and J.T. Realmuto back-to-back escaping the jam with no damage done.
The Nationals had their first real threat in the bottom of the fifth after back to back singles by Yan Gomes and Brian Dozier, but the next three hitters, (pinch hitter) Andrew Stevenson, Victor Robles, and Adam Eaton were unable to bring them home keeping it a 2-0 game.
Wander Suero came on to pitch in the top of the sixth, ending Max Scherzer’s day with 5IP, seven hits, two runs, and nine strikeouts. Max didn’t have his best stuff, but he was still extremely effective.
Suero was able to get one out before Herrera hit a double to left and advanced to third on a wild pitch. The right-hander was able to strike out Hernandez next, setting up a two on, one out, matchup between two lefties Matt Grace and pinch hitter Nick Williams.
Grace won the matchup, striking out Williams, but then walked Andrew McCutchen setting the bases loaded for Segura with two down. The Phillies shortstop delivered a game-changing hit, lining bases-clearing double into the rightfield corner, giving Philidelphia a 5-0 lead. Harper followed with an RBI single of his own, extending the lead to 6-0.
Washington finally got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the sixth as Anthony Rendon launched a two-run homer to left, his first of the year, cutting the Phillies lead to 6-2.
Right on cue, the Phillies stole the momentum back in the top of the eighth as Bryce Harper demolished a two-run homer to right, giving the Phillies a four-run lead again at 8-2.
That home run proved to be more than enough insurance, as the Nationals did not threaten the rest of the night, giving Philidelphia the 8-2 victory.
Next Game: The Washington Nationals return to action tomorrow afternoon as they continue their two-game series with the Philidelphia Phillies at 1:05 E.T. Washington will send Anibal Sanchez to the mound and he will be opposed by Aaron Nola for the Phillies.