In Nationals Park, Bryce Harper was the villain. Hunter Strickland was the good guy. Then the ball was 442 feet from home plate somewhere in the seats in right field.
In the half-inning after Trea Turner put the Nationals ahead 6-4, Harper came up as a pinch hitter and put a damper on the good vibes flowing throughout the park with a solo homer.
The irony of the situation is wild. Harper and Strickland have a storied history that started in a similar fashion. After all, it was a Harper home run off Strickland in the seventh inning in the very same park that ignited the feud in the first place during Game 1 of the 2014 NLDS. In Game 4, Harper went yard again, sending a blast into McCovey Cove, and stood in the box as he marveled at his work before taking his time getting around the bases.
In May of 2017, Strickland plunked Harper with a 98 mph fastball that erupted into a benches-clearing brawl.
Since then, Harper signed a record deal with the Phillies and the Nationals traded for Strickland.
So for now, Harper gets the last laugh, even though the Nationals eliminated the Phillies from playoff contention and are one half-inning away from clinching a postseason berth.
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