A reporter asked Washington Nationals' manager Davey Johnson how much his team needed Wednesday's road trip-ending win over the San Francisco Giants, which stopped a four-game losing streak. "We've needed them all," the 70-year-old skipper said, "We just take them one day at a time, but it's a good ballclub over there. They've got a good bullpen and they kept matching up with us and our guys battled and [Ian Desmond] got a big hit and I loved seeing it. It seems a long time coming." The hit Johnson's referring to was, of course, the Nats' shortstop's tenth inning RBI single that gave the visiting Nationals a one-run lead over the Giants in AT&T after Washington had blown a 1-0 lead in the home-half of the eighth.
Desmond's single to right scored Harper from second after the 20-year-old outfielder doubled with one down in the top of the first extra frame of the second-straight extra inning game in the series in San Francisco. A night after a loss which he blamed on his own inability to catch a game-tying ninth-inning triple by the Giants' Gregor Blanco, Harper came back with a 2 for 5 finale on Wednesday in which he scored each of the two runs the Nationals managed to score. Harper hit a solo home run (his 12th of 2013) to left field off Madison Bumgarner in the top of the sixth, then put the Nationals on top again after they'd blown the lead his bat provided.
And he apparently did it on a balky left knee. "It was a shocker," Johnson said, "Before he went up there -- before we went out to the field I think in the ninth inning, the trainer came over and said, 'Bryce hurt his knee again.' And I said, 'I don't want to hear it. Please don't tell me that.' And I looked at Bryce and said, 'Can you go?' And he said, 'Yeah. I'll go. I can go.' Then he got the big hit in the next inning. But I couldn't imagine having to take him out. I'm down to one player, running one player short on the bench anyway and having to take out [Harper] would have been all I can take."
Harper apparently hurt the knee again on a line drive to right by Hunter Pence in the bottom of the eighth. With two runners on and the game tied at 1-1 following Buster Posey's RBI single off Drew Storen, Pence lined to right and a charging Harper made a sliding catch on the knee he injured running into Dodger Stadium's right field wall last week in Los Angeles. "He banged it up," Davey Johnson said, "And it was swelling up, and I said, 'We'll fix it tomorrow."
Harper's home run was his first hit in 11 at bats going back to his second AB against the San Diego Padres in the finale of the previous series in Petco Park. Harper ended the road trip 5 for 21 with a double and two home runs. On the season, the second-year major leaguer now has a .288/.383/.612 line with seven doubles, a triple and 12 home runs in 41 games and 164 plate appearances, over which he's drawn 22 walks and struck out 27 times.