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Harper, Zimmerman on wrong side of history in 13-inning walk-off loss to Cubs

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Harper, Zimmerman on wrong side of history in 13-inning walk-off loss to Cubs

By ANDREW SELIGMAN, Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Cubs walked Washington star Bryce Harper a record-tying six times, then beat the Nationals 4-3 when Javier Baez homered in the 13th inning Sunday for a four-game sweep.

The Cubs won their seventh in a row and improved the best record in the majors to 24-6. Washington, which had been leading the NL East, lost its fourth straight.

Manager Joe Maddon and the Cubs simply showed no interest in pitching to Harper. The regining NL MVP walked 13 times in this series.

Harper matched the major league record for walks in a game, last done by Jeff Bagwell in 1999. Harper was hit by a pitch the other time he came to the plate.

The Elias Sports Bureau said Harper was the first player in history to reach base seven times without an official at-bat.

Things almost became almost comical when Harper strolled to the batter's box. In the 10th inning and again in the 12th, the Cubs intentionally walked him with runners on first and second and two outs. At one point, Harper was kidding with catcher David Ross as four balls sailed wide.

The Cubs escaped both bases-loaded jams by retiring Ryan Zimmerman, who set an MLB record by stranding 14 runners on base. The previous record, 12, was held by four players, David Ortiz most recently doing so on May 14, 2009 according to Baseball Almanac.

Harper drew three intentional walks in the game.

Baez homered with one out off Blake Treinen (2-1). Baez entered as a pinch hitter, stayed in to play third base and later connected for his second home run of the season.

Travis Wood (1-0) went one inning for the win.

The Cubs won for the 20th straight time when Jake Arrieta started. The NL Cy Young Award winner got a no-decision, giving up two earned runs in five innings.

Kris Bryant hit a tying, two-run single off Nationals reliever Yusmeiro Petit in the seventh.

Arrieta was in line for his first loss since last July 25 — when Philadelphia's Cole Hammels pitched a no-hitter at Wrigley Field -- before Chicago rallied for its 11th win in 12 games.

The Cubs are off to baseball's best 30-game start since the 1984 Detroit Tigers were 26-4.

Arrieta's ERA increased from 0.84 to 1.13 on a day when struggled with his control. The right-hander lasted just five innings for the second time in three starts.

Arrieta walked four, struck out seven and threw three wild pitches.

Washington's Tanner Roark gave up one run and four hits in six innings.


Nationals: 2B Daniel Murphy and 3B Anthony Rendon, who have been ill in recent days, were in the lineup.

Cubs: C Miguel Montero (lower back tightness) increased his hitting Sunday, with Maddon saying it went well. He will hit again in the cage Monday and the Cubs will then determine a course of action. Montero is eligible to come off the 15-day DL on Tuesday. ... Dexter Fowler got hit in the right wrist leading off the first but stayed in the game.


Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg (5-0, 2.36 ERA) looks to remain unbeaten as the Nationals open a three-game series against RHP Anibal Sanchez (3-3, 5.87) and the Detroit Tigers.

Cubs: The Cubs send LHP Jon Lester to the mound as they open a three-game series at home against the Padres. RHP Cesar Vargas pitches for San Diego.

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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.