March 6, 2012; Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA; Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper (34) runs to first in the fourth inning of the game against the Atlanta Braves at Champion Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE
Bryce Harper's fifth Triple-A at bat (after a 2 for 4 Triple-A debut yesterday) came in the top of the second inning of today's Syracuse Chiefs game against the Rochester Red Wings and 25-year-old left-hander Scott Diamond, a 6'3'' southpaw signed by the Atlanta Braves in 2007 and taken by Minnesota in the 2010 Rule 5 Draft who pitched with the Twins' top affiliate last season and made his MLB debut with seven starts in the second-half. The left-handed pitcher started the left-handed Harper with a fastball inside that was a called strike, then followed up with three straight sliders, with Harper chasing and missing the first and third for a swinging K.
Chiefs' right-hander Tanner Roark (acquired in the Cristian Guzman to the Texas Rangers trade along with RHP Ryan Tatusko) allowed a run in the first and Syracuse still trailed 1-0 when Harper stepped in against Scott Diamond for the second time with a runner on second and two down in the bottom of the fourth. This time Harper took a swing at the first pitch he saw, another fastball inside, and sent a weak grounder out to second to end the home-half of the frame 0 for 2 at the plate in his second game at Triple-A.
Harper squared to bunt but pulled back on a low slider from Diamond in the top of the seventh, then connected with a 1-0 fastball that got as far as left-center where it was caught leaving the Chiefs' 19-year-old outfielder 0 for 3 with a K today and 2 for 7 with maybe one at bat left in his second Triple-A start. Harper's fourth and final at bat of the game came in the bottom of the ninth when he led off against 28-year-old Twins' right-hander Anthony Slama, who spent most of the 2011 campaign at Triple-A compiling 42 K's (10.22 K/9) in 37.0 IP and threw 2.1 innings in relief with the Twins last season. Harper took a first pitch fastball for a called strike, fouled of another heater, swinging a little late, then fouled off off three 0-2 pitches before lining to center on another 0-2 fastball. 1 for 4 on the day for Harper, who's out at second on a grounder by Jason Michaels in the next at bat, but not before a hard (late) slide into second that distracted Red Wings' 2B Tsuyoshi Nishioka enough to break up any chance of double play. The Chiefs lose anyway. 3-1 final.
• Quick Notes: Corey Brown was 2 for 3 with two singles to center. Tyler Moore grounded into two double plays. Tanner Roark settled in after giving up a run in the first and ended up with 6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB's allowed, 3 K's, 7/4 GO/FO, 81 P, 52 S. Had a nice tight slider, wild at times with his FB. After Josh Wilkie gave up a run in his second inning of work in the 8th, Chiefs' LHP Atahualpa Severino came on with runners on second and third and one out. Jhonatano Solano caught Red Wings' CF Joe Benson sleeping though with a snap throw to third and Severino struck the next batter out to clean up the mess he inherited.