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Bryce age: Harper catching fire once again

Outfielder extends hit streak to 13 games with RBI single vs. Marlins
MLB.com

MIAMI -- Bryce Harper walked into the clubhouse after Tuesday's 12-3 win against the Marlins feeling free and easy. The Nationals star outfielder may have taken a liking to Miami's weather -- something he might get used to during July's All-Star break.

Harper once again showed why he deserves to start the Midsummer Classic, knocking a two-run single in the third inning that did more than get Washington on the board. It extended his hitting streak to a career-high 13 games, dating back to June 8.

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MIAMI -- Bryce Harper walked into the clubhouse after Tuesday's 12-3 win against the Marlins feeling free and easy. The Nationals star outfielder may have taken a liking to Miami's weather -- something he might get used to during July's All-Star break.

Harper once again showed why he deserves to start the Midsummer Classic, knocking a two-run single in the third inning that did more than get Washington on the board. It extended his hitting streak to a career-high 13 games, dating back to June 8.

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Harper's previous high came during his National League Rookie of the Year season in 2012. He had a 12-game hitting streak that began Sept. 24 that year and carried over until April 4, 2013.

Cast your Esurance All-Star Game Ballot for Harper and other #ASGWorthy players

"I'll probably go 0-for-4 tomorrow," Harper joked. "I appreciate that. Nah, just trying to have good at-bats and mostly good things will happen."

Tuesday's night's two-RBI performance helped his bid to start the All-Star Game even more, despite the fact that he doesn't need much help, as he leads all National League players with more than 2.8 million votes, and is 500,000 votes ahead of the next closest outfielder, Charlie Blackmon.

Nationals manager Dusty Baker has taken notice along with the rest of the world. Harper is, after all, putting together an MVP-like season along with teammate Ryan Zimmerman.

"His numbers speak for themselves," Baker said. "He's in the heart of our lineup and he's very deserving. We have four or five guys that are probably deserving, and I hope they get on the team."

What might go unnoticed to some is the way Harper has been trying to get on base. In his second at-bat Tuesday against Edinson Volquez, the slugger attempted to lay down a bunt with two runners in scoring position.

The attempt proved fruitless, but Harper then drilled an 0-1 changeup at his ankles into center field anyway. He was OK with hitting behind in the count, a sign of how locked in he's been of late.

"I don't hit Volquez very well, so if I can lay a bunt down with a guy at third base or second base, the guy was playing back pretty far," he said. "So lay it down, get a knock and score a run. But it worked out. I got a base knock that scored two."

Patrick Pinak is a reporter for MLB.com based in Miami.

Washington Nationals, Bryce Harper