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Bryce Harper's homer in 9th, 2nd of day, lifts Nats over Phils

Bryce Harper's homer in 9th, 2nd of day, lifts Nats over Phils

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Bryce Harper wasn't expecting a fastball with a full count from Joaquin Benoit.

No matter.

Harper hit a two-run homer in the third inning and a game-ending, three-run drive with two outs in the ninth, leading the Washington Nationals over the Philadelphia Phillies 6-4 on Sunday.

"Benoit's tough with that devastating changeup he throws," Harper said. "I thought he was going to throw it there 3-2, but he left one up."

Harper had worked the count full against Benoit (0-1) before driving a 97 mph fastball to center for his fourth home run this season. It was Harper's fourth game-ending homer, his first since May 9, 2015, against Atlanta's Cody Martin. Harper has hit 18 of his 125 big league homers against the Phillies.

"I made a mistake and he made me pay," Benoit said. "No excuses."

Harper's first home run, a two-run shot off Jerad Eickhoff in the third inning, broke a 1-1 tie. The Nationals trailed 4-3 in the ninth when Benoit walked Chris Heisey with one out, and Adam Eaton singled before Anthony Rendon flied out.

"The thing that really got Harper up was the walk to Heisey," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "Walks seem to score when we issue them."

Washington has won 15 of its last 19 games against Philadelphia. The Nationals won two of three during the weekend series.

Philadelphia took the lead in the ninth when Aaron Altherr doubled off Blake Treinen leading off and scored from third when, with the infield in, Freddy Galvis grounded to second baseman Daniel Murphy and catcher Matt Wieters dropped the throw on what was scored a fielder's choice.

Shawn Kelley (2-0) relieved with the bases loaded and got Maikel Franco to ground into a forceout.

"Kelley came in and got that big out," manager Dusty Baker said. "Blake was struggling. These guys have played us tough. It's come down to the last at-bat four of the six games we've played them."

Daniel Nava's RBI single in the eighth chased Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez, and Tommy Joseph tied the score with a two-out single off Koda Glover.

Gonzalez allowed three runs -- two earned -- five hits and three walks in 7 1/3 innings.

Eaton and Rendon hit consecutive doubles in the bottom half off Eickhoff, who allowed three runs and eight hits in six innings.

COMEBACK KIDS

Washington has come from behind in six of its seven victories this season, including both of its victories over the Phillies in this series.

CESAR'S PALACE

Phillies 2B Cesar Hernandez homered on the third pitch of the game, his second leadoff homer this season and the third of his big league career. Hernandez, who hit the go-ahead home run Saturday, has homered in consecutive games for the first time in his career.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Phillies: Herrera was out of the lineup for the first time in 12 games this season. Altherr got the start in center.

Nationals: SS Trea Turner (right hamstring strain) again participated in batting practice. He is eligible to return from the disabled list Wednesday.

UP NEXT

Phillies: RHP Zach Eflin will start Tuesday's opener of a three-game series at the New York Mets, who swept three games from the Phillies on the road last week.

Nationals: Washington makes its first trip to SunTrust Park in Atlanta, with RHP Max Scherzer (1-1, 2.13) scheduled to start the opener of a three-game set Tuesday.

MORE NATIONALS: ​Rizzo still feels 'really good' about Nats bullpen

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Max Scherzer Giving Away Memorabilia For Good Cause

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USA Today Sports Images

Max Scherzer Giving Away Memorabilia For Good Cause

By Ryan Wormeli

Max Scherzer is the ace of the Nationals staff, a fan favorite, and the 2017 National League Cy Young award winner. He's also a soon-to-be father whose wife, Erica May-Scherzer, once accidentally threw out the jersey he wore when throwing his 2nd career no-hitter. This time around, I'm guessing they talked it over first before deciding to sell some of his memorabilia garage-style for a new fundraiser.

We don't have any more information about the fundraiser yet, but May-Scherzer posted some photos on Twitter this afternoon. 

And in case you're wondering, no, the Scherzer family cat featured in one of the pictures isn't for sale (we assume). Plus, even if they were willing to part with their cat, considering Scherzer is on a contract worth over $200 Million, their price would probably be pretty steep. How much would you pay to adopt the cat of a 3-time Cy Young winner?

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Why Bryce Harper would be a bargain at $500 million

Why Bryce Harper would be a bargain at $500 million

$500 million.

That number is so hard to wrap your brain around, but it's a number a lot of professional baseball players may soon start seeing on their contracts.

One player who could be the first to see that amount within the next year is Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper.

Harper will become a free agent in 2018 and people are already projecting his market value at close to $500 million, if not more.

Miami Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton signed a contract back in 2014 for 13 years, $325 million, holding the league record.

For Fancy Stats writer Neil Greenberg, $500 million is a bargain for someone of Harper's caliber.

"Harper is every bit as good [as Stanton] but he's also young," Greenberg told the Sports Junkies Friday.

"I mean, we don't see a player that's as good as Harper, that's as young a Harper, hit the market almost ever I want to say. You look at how many years of his prime he has left and then even if you start to give him just the typical aging curb off of that prime, he's probably worth close to 570 million dollars starting from 2019 and going forward ten years. And that includes also the price of free agency going up and other factors."

Harper, who is only 25 years-old, brings more to a team than just talent. He's one of the most recognizable figures in baseball, bringing tremendous marketing opportunities to an organization. Greenberg dove deeper into how that will increase his market value.

"And that's just for the on-the-field product. You talk about all the marketing that's done around Bryce Harper [and] what he does for the game. In my opinion, and based on the numbers that I saw, he's a bargain at $500 million."

Don't we all wish someone would say $500 million is a bargain for us?

After crunching the numbers, the biggest takeaway for Greenberg is the return on investment the Nationals have gotten out of Harper.

"Like if you look at his wins above replacement throughout his career, he's given you 200 million dollars in value for 21 million dollars in cash and he's due what another 26 or 27 million this year. I mean he's already given you an amazing return on investment."

"So, if you're the Nationals having - benefited from that - you know you have a little bit of, I guess, wiggle room in terms of maybe you're paying a little bit for past performance 'cause, you know, when a player is on arbitration in their early years they don't really get paid that much."

The Nationals still have Harper for one more season and many feel they need to make him an offer sooner than later. Whenever and whoever he gets an offer from, it's going to be a nice pay day for him.