Harper hurts leg in Nationals’ win over Giants
WASHINGTON —The scenario didn’t look good at all for the Washington Nationals when Bryce Harper hit the first-base bag and tumbled onto the ground in the last of the first inning late Saturday night.
Many of the Nationals fans who stayed around after a three-hour rain delay saw possible postseason hopes become bleak. When Harper left the stadium, he was walking on his own power in the Nationals’ clubhouse around 1:45 a.m. Sunday morning after a 3-1 win by the Nationals over the San Francisco Giants.
Harper has a hyperextended left knee after getting hurt on a groundout. The 2015 National League MVP will have an MRI later Sunday, Washington manager Dusty Baker said.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy said, “I don’t know what happened really. It looked like he slipped on the bag. It might have been wet or something. Hopefully, he is OK. He is a key player for Washington and you hate to see anybody get hurt. I certainly hope it is not too bad.”
Edwin Jackson, the Washington starter and winner, said, “You hope for the best. It is good to see him walking around” the clubhouse.
Jackson allowed just one run in six innings, Adam Lind was 3 for 3 with an RBI and Ryan Zimmerman had two hits and drove in a run for Washington.
“Somehow he has our number. Pitching for San Diego last year, he pitched well against us. He did a job on us,” Bochy said of Jackson. “He’s got good stuff.”
But the pitching of Jackson and hitting of Lind was overshadowed by the Harper injury.
“We know he hyperextended it when he slipped going across the bag. He’s going to get an MRI,” Baker said. “We just ask for prayers that it’s not serious. We’re just urging everybody out there that are Nationals fans and baseball fans to say a prayer for him tonight because he was in obvious pain out there. We’re just hoping for the best.”
Jackson (3-2) gave up five hits before Brandon Kintzler took over and pitched a scoreless seventh.
Ryan Madson allowed a double to Buster Posey but pitched a scoreless eighth for Washington. Left-hander Sean Doolittle threw a perfect ninth for his eighth save with the Nationals.
Doolittle was one of three University of Virginia products in the game, along with Washington first baseman Ryan Zimmerman (2 for 3 with a walk) and Giants left fielder Jarrett Parker (1-for-4).
Virginia was in the news Saturday for the racial unrest that took place. A moment of silence was observed before the game for the victims of the clash.
Giants starter Jeff Samardzija (7-12), who had won his previous three starts, gave up three runs and nine hits in six innings and threw a less than ideal 120 pitches.
“He really competed well. He threw a lot of pitches. He kept us in the game there,” Bochy said.
Wilmer Difo also had two hits for Washington. The Nationals are 69-45 and the Giants are 46-71, including 0-4 this year against Washington.
Joe Panik hit a solo homer off Jackson in the first inning to give the visitors a 1-0 lead. It was the seventh homer of the season for Panik, who had gone 79 at-bats since his last homer on July 15 at San Diego.
Washington scored two runs in the last of the first take a 2-1 lead even though Harper was injured in the process.
Zimmerman had an RBI double and Daniel Murphy drove in a run with a single after Harper, the third batter for the Nationals, left the game.
Harper left after his left foot slipped on the first base bag as he tried to beat out a ground ball to first baseman Ryder Jones.
Harper fell to the ground and held his left knee for several minutes. He was helped off the field and did not put any weight on his left leg as athletic trainer Paul Lessard and hitting coach Rick Schu helped him to the clubhouse.
The start of the game was delayed three hours, one minute by rain Saturday and there was a light rain in the first inning.
Harper is hitting .326 with 29 homers and 89 RBIs in 106 games and 402 at-bats for the first-place Nationals, who entered the day 14 1/2 games ahead of the second-place Miami Marlins in the National League East.
The Nationals lost center fielder Adam Eaton for the season in late April when he also hit the bag in a strange way at first base at home. Washington hopes the same fate doesn’t happen to Harper.
“He was in obvious pain, and he was praying and I was praying, too. He was talking to the Master. That’s what we usually do when things are in a bad way. The good thing is he’s young and strong. I’m very optimistic that he’ll be at least fine shortly,” Baker said.
NOTES: Giants RHP Mark Melancon, who pitched a scoreless eighth inning, was activated off the disabled list and INF Miguel Gomez (right knee inflammation) was placed on the 10-day disabled list, retroactive to Aug. 9. ... Washington RHP Stephen Strasburg (right elbow nerve impingement) told reporters he is slated to make a minor league rehab appearance Monday for Class A Potomac of the Carolina League. The game will be in Woodbridge, Va., against the Salem (Va.) Red Sox, a farm team of Boston. ... Washington RHP A.J. Cole (1-2, 5.63 ERA) and RHP Max Scherzer (12-5, 2.23) will pitch for the Nationals in a day-night doubleheader Sunday. They will be opposed by Giants RHP Chris Stratton (0-2, 6.63) and LHP Matt Moore (3-12, 5.88).