WASHINGTON -- Bryce Harper became the youngest major leaguer to homer since 1998, going deep for the first time with the Washington Nationals on a solo shot to straightaway center field Monday night off San Diego Padres right-hander Tim Stauffer.
The 19-year-old Harper drove a 2-1 pitch to the grass backdrop just to the left of the 402-foot marker with two outs in the third inning.
Harper raced around the bases quickly and continued his sprint straight to the dugout, where he exchanged high-fives with teammates. As the crowd cheered, Harper came to the top of the dugout steps for a curtain call, thrusting his right index finger into the air.
The homer came in the outfielder's 15th game and 54th at-bat with the Nationals.
He's the youngest current player in the majors -- and, at 19 years and 211 days old, the youngest to hit a homer since Adrian Beltre of the Los Angeles Dodgers was 19 years and 171 days old on Sept. 25, 1998, according to STATS LLC.
Harper was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 amateur draft and spent time at Single-A and Double-A last season. He began 2012 at Triple-A Syracuse, then was called up to the majors in late April because of a series of injuries to Nationals starters.
Harper skipped his final year of high school, earned his GED, then played one season of junior college baseball at the College of Southern Nevada to become eligible for the draft and get a head-start on his professional career. He signed a five-year, $9.9 million contract, including $6.5 million in signing bonuses, with the Nationals in August 2010.