After being named to the National League All-Star team for the second consecutive year, Bryce Harper brought home the game-tying run in the seventh inning of the Washington Nationals’ 5-4 victory on Saturday over the San Diego Padres to move them to 45-42 on the season.
Harper, the first National to start the All-Star Game since Alfonso Soriano in 2006, had to persuade manager Davey Johnson to keep him in the lineup and was justified as he scored the tying run.
His sacrifice fly in the seventh inning leveled the scores at 4-4, scoring Denard Span and setting the stage for the next batter Ryan Zimmerman to put the Nats in the lead with an RBI single.
Harper went 1-2 in the game with three RBIs, including the first run for the Nationals as he was walked to allow Kurt Suzuki to score in the bottom of the third inning and then an RBI single in the fifth to score Span.
He had gone 1-19 since returning from the disabled list, not managing another hit since his home run against the Milwaukee Brewers in his first at-bat after suffering from knee bursitis.
With the Nationals’ offense struggling near the bottom of the league in a number of categories including average and RBIs, a return to form for Harper will be a welcome boost to a team that has found runs and wins hard to come by at times.
Harper will also be hoping his late surge to finish ahead of Andrew McCutcheon of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Justin Upton of the Atlanta Braves in the NL’s final outfield spot will spark another strong season as the Nationals maintain their push for the playoffs.