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Harper's HR spurs Nats-record 9-run 1st

WASHINGTON -- Twelve batters, eight hits, nine runs -- and that was just the first inning.

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The Nationals' bats exploded out of the gates Sunday in Washington's 9-2 win over the Pirates, setting a new club record for runs scored in the first inning and tying its record for runs scored in any inning.

"It's fun to be a part of," said Clint Robinson, who doubled and scored in the first. "Sometimes, you know, hitting is contagious, I've said all along. So when guys string together hits like that, it can create a snowball effect, and it did. It made it easy for us to get ahead and go out and get that win."

Yunel Escobar started the rally with a one-out single and Bryce Harper promptly blasted a Father's Day home run on Charlie Morton's offering into the second tier in right field.

"It was awesome," Harper said. "Being able to do that in the first at-bat. Him being able to come out and enjoy that. Very cool moment. It was a good opportunity to get us on the board. Very happy we got that 'W' and got that sweep."

Morton entered the game with a 1.62 ERA. When he was pulled with two outs into the first, it had skyrocketed to 3.97.

After Harper's 24th homer, five of the next six hitters hit safely, turning the lineup over. Denard Span walked to put two runners on and Escobar capped the early activities with a line-drive shot that landed in the left-field seats.

Starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez added an RBI double of his own, but seemed more interested in looking for Max Scherzer in the dugout than running to second.

"I was just tired of 'Maxi' trying to be No. 1 hitting," Gonzalez said. "Finally bumped up somewhere in that ranking of pitchers than can hit. I was just happy. I was looking for him the whole way. I completely forgot to look at the right fielder."

Morton was pulled for Vance Worley, who struck out Harper to end the inning.

The Nationals were held scoreless for the rest of the afternoon, but had stockpiled more than they needed in the first.

Jacob Emert is an associate reporter for
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