Sunday, 21 October, 2018

Nationals' Bryce Harper to bat leadoff Tuesday for first time since 2013

Nationals' Bryce Harper to bat leadoff Tuesday for first time since 2013 Nationals' Bryce Harper to bat leadoff Tuesday for first time since 2013
Kristopher Love | 02 May, 2018, 15:57

With AP Photos.Slumping Bryce Harper was moved to the leadoff spot for the first time since 2013 and responded with a three-run homer that helped Max Scherzer win his fifth straight start as the Washington Nationals beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 12-4. He said later he wanted to remember what that felt like.

The Nationals are beginning to look like themselves again.

So Monday night, he called Harper into his office.

"That didn't bother me at all", said Difo, via translator Octavio Martinez.

Perhaps it was change for change's sake.

And Harper crushed a three-run homer in the fifth to give the Nationals a 5-0 lead. Matt Adams gave Washington three hits including two homers, three RBI's and three runs while Trea Turner drove in three. Pittsburgh has covered the spread five times in its last seven games and the total has gone under in three of those seven. This home run also chased Kuhl from the game.

Corey Dickerson hit a two-run homer off Scherzer in the seventh, and Max Moroff hit a two-run drive against Carlos Torres in the ninth.

The Pirates have hit 11 home runs in their last 10 games.

The hit by Scherzer upped the margin to 7-0 and Turner had a three-run double as the Nationals broke the game open with sixth runs in the sixth. Turner, second in the NL with 12 stolen bases, was picked off for the first time this season.

Road woes continued for the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night. Exhausted Nationals relievers - particularly Brandon Kintzler, Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle - had been rooting for a blowout to ease their workload for weeks. He grounded out to first base in his first at-bat, then flied out deep to the left-field corner in the third inning.

"We'll let it ride for a couple days, see what happens", Martinez said. "We get to rest our big three a little bit".

For his career, Harper has made 16 starts out of the leadoff spot, all during the 2013 season.

But what about the psyche of Nationals third baseman Wilmer Difo?

In an effort to get things going, Harper will bat leadoff for Tuesday's game.

"I said, 'Great, good job, '" Martinez said with a smile, as if his toddler had just declared he would be president someday, or something like that. "It was a good day for him". Then Taillon threw a wild pitch, allowing the runners to advance.

Harper has hit.247 with eight home runs and 19 RBIs in 29 games this season. Hopefully, this is the game that gets him back on track.

"I think it all starts in that manager's office every night".

"He believes in our team", Harper said. Glasnow than ran into trouble in the bottom of the 6th inning. Scherzer singled home a run. He had allowed three homers over his five previous starts.

Rendon and Murphy might return soon, though, and no one is happier about that news than outfielder Bryce Harper.

"Maybe", Martinez said, when asked during spring training if he would consider leading off with Harper.