Bryce Harper Homers, Collects Three Hits in Return to Washington
The much-anticipated day arrived early in the 2019 season for the Phillies. Bryce Harper, the recipient of the largest-ever free agent contract in Major League Baseball was set to return to his former ballpark in Washington, D.C., in just the fourth game of the season. Ahead of the game Washington's mayor tweeted a "Benedict Arnold" reference while the national baseball media geared up with lots of coverage.
On national television, Harper and the Phillies did not disappoint.
The Nationals jumped starting pitcher Max Scherzer ahead of fifth starter Jeremy Hellickson for the the start on Tuesday, putting arguably the game's best pitcher on the mound to face Harper. Could Scherzer shut down Harper and the Phillies team that swept the Atlanta Braves? Harper and the Phillies did not disappoint.
In the first inning, Harper walked to the plate to a loud chorus of boos, with plenty of cheers from Phillies fans who made the trip and Nationals fans who appreciated his time there. But in that at bat, Scherzer won. Harper struck out.
But the best was yet to come.
A single by Andrew McCutchen opened the eighth inning put a runner on base. After a fielder's choice, Harper stepped to the plate again with Segura on base. This time, the ball landed in the right field seats:
That home run would drive in runs seven and eight to give the Phillies an 8-2 lead.
That would be the final score. The Phillies got stellar pitching from starter Zach Eflin, who pitched five innings of three-hit ball. Eflin struck out nine and left the game for a pinch hitter as the Phillies hoped to capitalize off of opportunities allowed by Scherzer.
The two runs were allowed by left-handed reliever Jose Alvarez in the sixth inning. Juan Nicasio, Edubray Ramos, Adam Morgan and Vince Velasquez would hold the Nationals scoreless the rest of the way. The final score was the Phillies 8, Nationals 2.
The victory means that the Phillies have opened a season 4-0 for the first time since 1915. The Phillies have to be feeling good heading into tomorrow as Aaron Nola takes the mound against veteran Anibal Sanchez for one more at 1:05 p.m. Afterwards hte Phillies have a day off Thursday and are back in Philadelphia to face the Minnesota Twins for a three-game set.