'Unbelievable' Harper wows again in 4-RBI day
Nationals right fielder nearly hits for cycle in win over Padres
SAN DIEGO -- Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper should be called Hammerin' Harper. The guy has been a hitting machine lately. On Sunday, Harper went 3-for-4, drove in four runs and was a double away from the cycle in a 10-5 victory over the Padres.
Harper has been sizzling the last two weeks. Dating back to May 6, Harper is 22-for-39 (.564) with nine home runs, 22 RBIs and a .653 on-base percentage.
It doesn't matter how one pitches to him, Harper is going to find a way to get on base.
"Oh, my God. I would say OMG," teammate Jose Lobaton said. "He is unbelievable. How can you explain that? He hits a home run, a single, triples. I don't know. It's good to have someone like that on the team. ...
"He is ready. The way he is seeing the ball, he is hitting everything. High fastballs, he checks those pitches. What's going on here? I want to do that. I'm really happy for him and we have that guy with us. He has been doing good. He is going to keep doing the same right now."
Even Padres manager Bud Black was impressed by what he saw from Harper this weekend.
"There's no doubt he's swinging it as well as anyone in baseball," Black said. "It's awful tough. You try to do the best you can without laying one in there. Right now, he's seeing the ball so well that there's no weakness. You try to get to a spot and if you get there he seems to take it or foul it off. He's really, really swinging the bat well. He was on base a ton this series. He's really in a good spot right now."
Harper didn't care that he didn't hit for the cycle. He was just satisfied seeing the Nationals win their third consecutive game.
"It would have been cool [to get the cycle]. I'm just happy we got the W," Harper said. "I'm excited to get home in front of our fans for the next couple of days. It's going to be fun."
Harper walked in his first at-bat against right-hander Ian Kennedy. In the fifth, Harper tripled to right field and later scored on a three-run homer by Danny Espinosa.
An inning later, with left-hander Frank Garces on the mound, the bases were loaded when Harper hit an infield single, scoring Michael Taylor.
Right-hander Dale Thayer was on the mound in the seventh inning when Harper hit a three-run homer over the left-field wall.
"I think [Harper] is just playing," manager Matt Williams said. "He is understanding the strike zone. He is taking a walk when it's offered to him. When he gets guys in scoring position, he is aggressive and waiting for a good pitch to hit. That's the difference for any hitter. Somebody that has his ability, it makes a huge difference."