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Bryce Harper leaves game after hit-by-pitch to knee; Will he return for finale vs Reds?

Washington and Cincinnati split Saturday’s doubleheader in D.C., and things got testy after some batters, including both Bryce Harper and Joey Votto were hit by pitches.

Cincinnati Reds v Washington Nationals - Game Two Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Hit squarely on the right knee by a 1-2 slider from Cincinnati Reds’ right-hander Austin Brice in the sixth inning of Saturday night’s game, Bryce Harper took his base (after going down and trying to shake it off), took second on a wild pitch in the next at bat, and returned to the outfield, but after he looked uncomfortable running for a fly to right-center in the Reds’ half of the seventh, Harper left the game.

“I was just in pain so there was no point in being out there,” Harper told reporters after what ended up a 6-2 win for Washington.

“I watched him and he was shaking his head, so he really couldn’t run,” Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez said when asked about the decision to lift Harper.

“I saw him run a little bit, and he wasn’t moving very well.”

Asked exactly where he got hit, Harper said, “Straight on the knee. Just in that whole area.”

Harper went 2 for 3 in the day half of the split doubleheader with the Reds, and he was 0 for 3 in the nightcap when he was lifted from the game.

He said that Brice actually apologized.

“He just said sorry, no hard feelings towards it all, it just got away from him,” Harper said.

How did the leg feel when he spoke after the game?

“It hurts,” Harper said. “But, you know, see where I’m at tomorrow and we’ll go from there.”

“He’s okay,” Martinez said. “A little sore, stiff. He said he would be alright. We’ll see how he wakes up tomorrow.”

The first-year skipper said he didn’t think Harper would need to have any tests done on the knee.

“Hopefully not. He say he’s okay. It was a stinger, so his leg kind of went numb on him.”

Spencer Kieboom took a 1-0 fastball from Jesus Reyes to the stomach/jersey in the first at bat to the Nats’ seventh, and with two out in the top of the eighth, Nationals’ right-hander Ryan Madson hit Reds’ first baseman Joey Votto (who’d already been hit once by Jeremy Hellickson earlier in the game) with a 96 mph first-pitch fastball to the right leg that the Reds’ first baseman did not appreciate.

Votto jawed at Madson and was still gesticulating towards the pitcher and the Nationals’ dugout as he walked off the field one out later.

Cincinnati Reds v Washington Nationals - Game Two Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Madson told reporters after the game that he hadn’t intentionally hit Votto:

Martinez said he didn’t think any of the pitches were intentional.

“I really don’t think they were throwing at — seriously, it’s been a long day for both of our teams, it really has, and they’re both competitive teams. We want to win, they want to win, but I don’t think anybody was throwing at anybody.”

Reds’ skipper Jim Riggleman was asked if Votto was as animated as he was because he believed it was a purpose pitch.

“I haven’t talked to Joey, I don’t know,” Riggleman said. “It certainly — it appeared that. The only person who knows is the person who threw the pitch, so, you know, it is what it is.”

Will Harper be back in the lineup tomorrow? Will there be any retaliation? Will the Nationals be able to win the series?