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Bryce Harper had some great quotes after his big HR to beat the Phillies

Bryce Harper had some great quotes after his big HR to beat the Phillies

For a guy who had struck out three times on curveballs in his first three at-bats on Saturday night, Bryce Harper sure looked certain when he finally got a piece of one.

The reigning MVP sent the Nationals to a 3-0 victory with a three-run homer off Phillies reliever Patrick Schuster in the bottom of the eighth inning, and he knew it once it left his bat.

While the ball left the park like a bullet and pelted off the back wall of the bullpen in right field, Harper took his time walking out of the box. He then executed a bat flip that might as well have been done in slow motion. Jose Bautista would be proud.

A few screams to the dugout later, and Harper was on his way to his 24th home run trot of the season, this one more timely than most.

"I got pretty good wood on it. It felt good and I definitely knew it was out of the yard. There was a lot of emotion right there. I was pretty fired up to get that W," he said.

The three strikeouts all came against Phillies starter Jerad Eickhoff, a right-hander. Schuster is a lefty. Still, Harper felt good about finally conquering the curveball.

"[Eickhoff] struck me out three times. But that doesn't really matter when I hit a homer to win the ballgame. I was standing in right field thinking to myself 'well, you struck out three times so hit a homer and everyone will forget about that.' Look what happened. Why not?"

Now, that's an excellent quote. Turns out that Schuster could have thrown just about anything in that spot. Harper was ahead in the count at 3-1 and he had some frustration built up. He wanted to let loose with a big swing and just happened to find a pitch that was the perfect match.

"I was trying to sit on something soft, I guess, and got a pitch over the middle of the plate. I'm kind of shocked that he even threw it over the plate. I was going to swing no matter what, anyways, to tell you the truth. It could have been in their dugout, I probably would have swung at it. I was just trying to have a good at-bat and did some damage. I'm very happy with the outcome," Harper said.

So were his teammates, who had also struggled against Eickhoff. The Phillies right-hander tossed six scoreless frames and allowed just one extra-base hit. 

The Nats didn't need much offense on Saturday night with how Max Scherzer was pitching. Scherzer had 6 2/3 scoreless innings of his own.

Their bats woke up late, and just at the right moment.

"Boy, that was a dramatic home run," manager Dusty Baker said. "That just shows you how strong he is mentally after you strike out three times then hit a home run. He had a rough night going up until then. That came right on time because we needed it."

[RELATED: Nats' Strasburg had PRP injection, will he return in time for playoffs?]


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The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful


The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful

It's that wonderful time of year again — when baseball teams flock to warmer climates for spring training and the regular season is practically around the corner — and Bryce Harper is already killing it.

It took the Washington Nationals a few games to brush away their offseason cobwebs and get back into gear, but since the beginning of March, they're riding a five-game win streak as of Sunday the 4th.

They are 6-4-1 in spring training going into Monday's matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Since Thursday, the Nats have taken down — in order — the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, defending World Series champion Houston Astros, the Detroit Tigers and the Mets again. Sunday's 6-2 win against the Tigers was in large part thanks to Harper's bat, as the star of the team drilled his first home run of spring training. 


Turn up the volume for this one because the sound of Harper's contact with the ball is just beautiful — and perhaps enough to get you pumped for the March 29 opener.

Harper blew this ball away in the bottom of the third for a two-run homer with Howie Kendrick on base. He also had a single in the fourth and finished the game with three RBI.

Gio Gonzalez was the winning pitcher for the Nats. 


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Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches


Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches

We are fortunate enough to live in a world where we can watch a former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback (attempt to) hit against a three-time Cy Young pitcher in a Major League Baseball preseason game.

Max Scherzer took less than a minute to strike out Tim Tebow, who was batting cleanup for the Mets in a spring training game Friday. You can watch the whole at-bat here:

It looks like Tebow and Scherzer are starting to develop a pattern - last year’s matchup between the two went down the exact same way.

Tebow was able to redeem himself later in the game with his first hit of the year against Nats prospect Erick Fedde. He will likely begin the season with the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies, but Mets GM Sandy Alderson said he believes Tebow will eventually see some at-bats in the Majors.