Bryce Harper was 0 for 3 with 3 Ks before he stepped to the plate with two on and one out in the bottom of the eighth inning on Saturday night in the nation’s capital. It was ten games and 46 plate appearances since his last home run, and he looked lost in the previous three at bats, but Harper was facing a different pitcher this time, after going hitless against Philadelphia starter Jerad Eickhoff.
Left-hander Patrick Schuster tried to get a 3-1 breaking ball by Washington’s 23-year-old slugger, but Harper was all over it and he sent a three-run blast out to right field, putting the Nats up 3-0 with his 24th home run of the season.
When you know, you know. pic.twitter.com/V4mKNfXJ8E— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 11, 2016
“Boy, that was a dramatic home run,” Dusty Baker told reporters after the Nationals’ second straight win over the Phillies.
“It just shows you how strong he is mentally after you strike out three times and you hit a home run. He had a rough night going up till then.”
Harper put it more succinctly when he spoke to MASN’s Dan Kolko on the field after the win.
“Had three crap ABs before that and went up there that fourth at bat just trying to get a pitch I could drive and win the ballgame.”
Harper got the pitch he was looking for and did. not. miss.
Shout. pic.twitter.com/kJyDKU5tyo— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 11, 2016
"[Eickhoff] struck me out three times,” Harper told reporters, including CSN Mid-Atlantic’s Chase Hughes:
“But that doesn't really matter when I hit a homer to win the ballgame. I was standing in right field thinking to myself, ‘Well, you struck out three times so hit a homer and everyone will forget about that.' Look what happened. Why not?"
Harper watched it sail out, flipped his bat aside dismissively and directed a scream towards his teammates in the dugout as he made his way to first.
Clutch Harper: https://t.co/ldx9VTtTj7 #BatFlip pic.twitter.com/Guhg75mkcF— MLB (@MLB) September 11, 2016
Kolko asked Harper what was behind the emotional outburst.
“Trying to win it all,” Harper said.
“Every single night you want to win every single game, and the goal is to get into the playoffs and win a World Series and that’s what we want to do. It all starts in Spring Training and it came out today.”
• We talked about Harper’s blast and the Nationals’ win after the game on NATS NIGHTLY: