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The way Bryce Harper reached HR No. 100 speaks to his greatness

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The way Bryce Harper reached HR No. 100 speaks to his greatness

Bryce Harper began the 2016 season with 97 career homers, so we knew he was close to hitting the century mark, a round number of 100 that will likely be just one of many milestones to look back on when his career is over. 

And it didn't take long for Harper to get No. 98 and No. 99, which he captured in just three games. His 98th was in his first at-bat of the season on Opening Day.

To go from 99 to 100, though, took a full week, which for Harper these days seems like an eternity between homers. On Thursday at Nationals Park, No. 100 finally came, and it sure didn't disappoint.

Harper decimated a 1-0 fastball from Julio Teheran high over the fence in right field in the bottom of the third on Thursday. It wasn't just a homer, it was the first grand slam of his career. 

And it wasn't just a long flyball, this one pelted off the LED facade in right field, busting a scoreboard panel with forceful impact.

"Perfect," Harper joked when he heard about the damage.

Harper has shown a tendency to produce classic moments already at just 23 years old and this one will certainly go down as one of his most memorable.

"You look at every sport. Guys that are considered the great ones – Michael Jordan, [Wayne] Gretzky, Jim Brown, Joe Montana – they have a flair for the dramatic," manager Dusty Baker said. "I told him when he hit that home run: ‘Man, you’ve got a flair for the dramatic.’ You hit a grand slam on your 100th career home run. How many people have done that?"

It turns out that feat isn't all that rare, actually. Tigers catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, amazingly, did the exact same thing the day before. But it wasn't his first grand slam. That Harper can claim.

As if all of this wasn't already so fun to describe and analyze, Harper's 100th homer also came on his mother Sheri's birthday.

"It was my mom's birthday today, so being able to hit her a homer today was definitely huge," Harper said.

And the home run ball was returned to Harper by way of a young girl, who caught it after it bounced off the scoreboard. Harper traded her a bat and took some photos with her for the ball, which sat in his locker after the game enclosed in glass.

The home run and all the circumstances that surrounded it made for a special day at Nationals Park and Harper was thankful to share the accomplishment with his fans. He obliged for a curtain call moments after the third-inning bomb, hopping to the top step of the dugout with his fist pumping in the air.

Harper understands the significance of getting to 100, but also downplayed the feat in a way fitting for a player who has the potential to someday end up an all-time great.

"I think if you're worried about 100, then you're not going to get higher than that. Not to take it for granted, I'm definitely excited, but I'm looking for many more to come," he said.

Harper became the eighth-youngest player in MLB history to reach No. 100, getting there faster than many Hall of Famers including Hank Aaron, so he's well on his way.

 

[RELATED: Nats sweep Braves as Harper notches career homer No. 100]

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Former Nats manager Jim Riggleman named interim manager of Reds

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Former Nats manager Jim Riggleman named interim manager of Reds

Remember Jim Riggleman, the infamous Nats manager that resigned from the position back in 2011 after a win against the Seattle Mariners? Well he's back in a managerial position.

Bryan Price was fired as manager of the Cinncinati Reds Thursday, after the team started the 2018 season 3-15. Riggleman, who spent four seasons as their bench coach, was named the interim manager to replace Price.

Riggleman was promoted to interim manager of the Nats in July of 2009, after Manny Acta was let go midseason. He stayed on as manager for 2010 and 2011, and he then resigned from the team on June 23, 2011 after a win agaisnt the Seattle Mariners. He had lead the team to a win in 11 of their last 12 games prior to stepping away.

The reason behind the dramatic exit was due to the organization not yet picking up his 2012 contract option. He had reportedly requested a conversation with the front office about his future with the organization, and was upset after they declined. At 58 years-old, he felt he deserved more respect.

He's been with the Reds organization since 2012, and has spent time managing the Padres, Cubs and Mariners, in addition to the Nationals. His career winning pct. with each team has been below-.500.

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Nationals fall after Mets score 9 runs in 8th inning

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Nationals fall after Mets score 9 runs in 8th inning

NEW YORK -- Yoenis Cespedes launched a grand slam during a nine-run outburst in the eighth inning that rallied the New York Mets past the Washington Nationals 11-5 on Wednesday night, preventing a three-game sweep.

Todd Frazier tied it at 4 with a two-run single and pinch-hitter Juan Lagares put New York ahead for the first time with a two-run double off ineffective setup man Ryan Madson (0-2).

Shut down by Tanner Roark for seven innings, the first-place Mets broke loose in the eighth and improved to 13-4 with a stirring victory against their NL East rivals.

Ryan Zimmerman homered twice, tripled and drove in four runs for the Nationals, who pulled off their own big comeback in the eighth inning of the series opener.

Two nights later, New York returned the favor.

Roark limited the Mets to two hits and left leading 4-2. Michael Conforto, Cespedes and Asdrubal Cabrera singled off Madson to load the bases with nobody out in the eighth. Jay Bruce fouled out before Frazier smacked a two-run single up the middle and advanced to second on the throw home.

After an intentional walk to Adrian Gonzalez loaded the bases again, pinch-hitter Wilmer Flores struck out. Lagares then lined a two-run double the other way, just inside the right-field line at the outer edge of the infield grass, to put the Mets up 6-4.

Sammy Solis walked Amed Rosario and Conforto to force in a run. Cespedes connected for his sixth career slam -- the third by the Mets already this season -- off A.J. Cole, sending fans into a frenzy.

Both of Cespedes' hits in the inning came on 0-2 pitches.

AJ Ramos (1-1) worked a perfect inning for his first win with the Mets since being acquired from Miami last July.

Howie Kendrick reached on an infield single for Washington in the first and Bryce Harper drew his 24th walk, most in the majors. Zimmerman, batting .121 at that point and struggling to make opponents pay for bypassing Harper, came through with a drive to left-center off Steven Matz for his second home run of the season.

Matz steadied himself after a 33-pitch first inning and retired his final 10 batters. He was pulled for a pinch hitter in the fourth after throwing 74 pitches.

Cabrera doubled to open the fourth and scored on Gonzalez's single. Zimmerman had a chance to start an inning-ending double play, but his throwing error from first base allowed another run to score on Jose Lobaton's RBI grounder as the Mets cut it to 3-2.

After Mets pitchers retired 16 in a row, Zimmerman's leadoff triple in the seventh got past a diving Bruce in right field, and Moises Sierra followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 4-2.

Zimmerman also hit a solo homer in the ninth.