Harper blasts 13th homer, Nationals hold off Pirates 8-4

PITTSBURGH (AP) Bryce Harper has known for about a year that PNC Park was the only stadium in the National League where the Washington Nationals star hadn't gone deep.

One vicious swing on Tuesday night checked it off the list.

Harper sent a laser to the last row of seats in right field in the top of the ninth for his 13th home run to give Washington's erratic bullpen a little extra breathing room in an 8-4 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. Only a protective fence prevented the ball from ending up in the Allegheny River.

Not that Harper was aiming or anything.

''I don't worry about hitting the ball in the water,'' Harper said. ''(Former manager) Matt (Williams) used to say `It's not how far, it's how many.' Just trying to put the ball in play and sometimes it goes over the fence.''

Or a lot of the time if you happen to be Harper or the other bats in baseball's most explosive lineup. Such are the riches for the Nationals at the moment that Ryan Zimmerman went 2 for 5 with a two-run double ... and was leapfrogged by Harper for the top batting average in the majors (.388). Zimmerman's two RBI pushed his total to a major league-leading 38, two clear of Harper.

Jayson Werth added three hits and is batting .457 (16 for 35) in his last nine games. Wilmer Difo lined a shot to the seats in center field for his first home run of the season for Washington, which has won four of five.

Stephen Strasburg (4-1) allowed three runs in six-plus innings, walking one and striking out three on a night when his stuff was more ordinary than electric.

''I got a little bit better command wise, but I felt like I was grinding through it all night,'' Strasburg said. ''It wasn't my best, but they picked me up.''

Josh Harrison had two hits for the Pirates, including his sixth home run of the season, and also avoided a tag at second base with an acrobatic slide in the sixth. Chad Kuhl (1-4) remained winless since the first week of the season.

LOSING HIS KUHL

The Nationals are in the process of running away with the NL East not even a quarter of the way into the season thanks to the best offense in baseball. The lineup wasted little time getting to Kuhl, who hasn't won since beating Atlanta six weeks ago.

Trea Turner led off with a double and scored on Werth's RBI single. Strasburg led off the third with a single, moved to second on a single by Werth, and Zimmerman followed one batter later with a double that put the Nationals in front 4-1. Michael Taylor tripled with one out in the fourth, and Difo, who came in batting just .196, sent Kuhl's pitch to the seats for his first of the season to make it 6-1. Kuhl's ERA ballooned to 6.69 in eight starts.

''I hate losing,'' Kuhl said. ''I hate falling behind hitters. It's a really big challenge for me.''

WHAT A RELIEF

Washington's bullpen began the day with a 5.53 ERA, third worst in the majors. It flirted with letting a lead slip away in the seventh when the Pirates scratched across three runs thanks in part to a throwing error by Zimmerman. Blake Treinen - who began the season as the closer before being demoted - got Harrison to hit into a double play, then struck out Andrew McCutchen to end the threat.

Enny Romero pitched a perfect eighth and Koda Glover worked around two baserunners in the ninth.

''We're still in the process trying to figure it out and get it together,'' Washington manager Dusty Baker said. ''But in the meantime our offense is doing the job.''

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: 3B Stephen Drew is nearly ready for a rehab assignment to deal with his strained right hamstring. 2B Daniel Murphy was held out of the lineup for only the second time this season to give him a chance to rest.

Pirates: RF Gregory Polanco was given the day off to give his strained left hamstring some rest. Polanco was removed from a win over Arizona on Sunday after feeling a twinge.

UP NEXT

Nationals: Jacob Turner (2-1, 3.31 ERA) will make his second start of the season on Wednesday.

Pirates: Gerrit Cole (1-4, 3.04 ERA) searches for his first win in a month on Wednesday. Cole has a 2.08 ERA in his last six starts but has been undone by a lack of support. The Pirates have scored one run or less in five of his eight starts.

---

More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

Copyright 2017 by Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

123456789RHE
WAS25-13
1022100028141
PIT16-23
100000300480
  • W: S. Strasburg (4-1)L: C. Kuhl (1-4)
  • HR: WAS - B. Harper (13), W. Difo (1), PIT - J. Harrison (6)
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
T. Turner SS51200011.254.288.449.7375.5
J. Werth LF51310011.316.414.509.9224.5
B. Goodwin PR-LF01000000.222.300.333.6331.0
B. Harper RF42221103.388.503.7671.27110.0
R. Zimmerman 1B50220002.385.429.7851.2145.0
A. Rendon 3B50100014.277.369.453.8221.5
M. Wieters C30110111.287.369.454.8232.5
M. Taylor CF41100014.266.298.443.7413.5
W. Difo 2B41121012.200.273.283.5566.5
S. Strasburg P31100010.111.111.278.3891.5
M. Albers P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
O. Perez P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
B. Treinen P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
a- C. Heisey PH10000011.136.191.227.419-0.5
E. Romero P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
K. Glover P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
  • a-struck out for Treinen in the 8th
HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
A. Frazier LF-CF50210011.323.380.446.8263.5
J. Harrison 2B51211014.292.355.482.8377.5
A. McCutchen CF40000012.206.280.390.670-0.5
W. LeBlanc P0000-000.200.200.200.000-
J. Jaso RF40100021.162.253.311.5641.0
D. Freese 3B30000102.284.380.463.8421.0
J. Bell 1B41100011.244.333.479.8122.5
F. Cervelli C31000110.227.303.409.7121.5
J. Mercer SS31100100.206.315.278.5933.0
C. Kuhl P10000000.000.111.000.1110.0
D. Hudson P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
a- A. Hanson PH10000001.154.195.256.4520.0
J. Barbato P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
b- J. Osuna PH-LF20110001.226.294.435.7302.0
  • a-grounded out for Hudson in the 5th
  • b-hit into fielder's choice for Barbato in the 7th
BATTING
  • 2B - T. Turner (9), R. Zimmerman (15), A. Rendon (7)
  • 3B - M. Taylor (2)
  • HR - B. Harper (13), W. Difo
  • RBI - J. Werth (12), B. Harper 2 (36), R. Zimmerman 2 (38), M. Wieters (16), W. Difo 2 (5)
  • 2-Out RBI - R. Zimmerman 2 (20)
BATTING
  • 2B - A. Frazier (3), J. Harrison (6), J. Jaso (5), J. Bell (7)
  • HR - J. Harrison (6)
  • RBI - A. Frazier (6), J. Harrison (13), J. Osuna (9)
BASERUNNING
  • SB - T. Turner (7)
FIELDING
  • E - R. Zimmerman (5)
PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
S. Strasburg (W, 4-1)6.04333313.421.1719.5
M. Albers0.01100000.610.00-1.0
O. Perez0.01000004.320.00-1.0
B. Treinen (H, 4)1.00000107.640.003.5
E. Romero (H, 4)1.00000104.580.003.5
K. Glover1.02000203.092.002.0
PITCHERSIP
S. Strasburg (W, 4-1)6.0
M. Albers0.0
O. Perez0.0
B. Treinen (H, 4)1.0
E. Romero (H, 4)1.0
K. Glover1.0
PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
C. Kuhl (L, 1-4)4.010661316.692.75-8.5
D. Hudson1.01000007.311.002.0
J. Barbato2.01000303.270.506.5
W. LeBlanc2.02221212.661.502.0
PITCHERSIP
C. Kuhl (L, 1-4)4.0
D. Hudson1.0
J. Barbato2.0
W. LeBlanc2.0
PITCHING
  • Pitches-Strikes - S. Strasburg 108-68, M. Albers 14-9, O. Perez 4-3, B. Treinen 6-6, E. Romero 17-11, K. Glover 29-21
  • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - S. Strasburg 8-7, M. Albers 1-0, B. Treinen 1-0, E. Romero 1-1, K. Glover 1-0
  • Batters Faced - S. Strasburg 25, M. Albers 2, O. Perez, B. Treinen 2, E. Romero 3, K. Glover 5
PITCHING
  • Pitches-Strikes - C. Kuhl 89-54, D. Hudson 8-4, J. Barbato 24-19, W. LeBlanc 40-28
  • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - C. Kuhl 3-5, D. Hudson 1-1, W. LeBlanc 3-1
  • Batters Faced - C. Kuhl 22, D. Hudson 3, J. Barbato 7, W. LeBlanc 9
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
123456789RHE
WAS25-13
1022100028141
PIT16-23
100000300480
HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
T. Turner SS51200011.254.288.449.7375.5
J. Werth LF51310011.316.414.509.9224.5
B. Goodwin PR-LF01000000.222.300.333.6331.0
B. Harper RF42221103.388.503.7671.27110.0
R. Zimmerman 1B50220002.385.429.7851.2145.0
A. Rendon 3B50100014.277.369.453.8221.5
M. Wieters C30110111.287.369.454.8232.5
M. Taylor CF41100014.266.298.443.7413.5
W. Difo 2B41121012.200.273.283.5566.5
S. Strasburg P31100010.111.111.278.3891.5
M. Albers P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
O. Perez P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
B. Treinen P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
a- C. Heisey PH10000011.136.191.227.419-0.5
E. Romero P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
K. Glover P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
Total39814822819-----
  • a-struck out for Treinen in the 8th
HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
A. Frazier LF-CF50210011.323.380.446.8263.5
J. Harrison 2B51211014.292.355.482.8377.5
A. McCutchen CF40000012.206.280.390.670-0.5
W. LeBlanc P0000-000.200.200.200.000-
J. Jaso RF40100021.162.253.311.5641.0
D. Freese 3B30000102.284.380.463.8421.0
J. Bell 1B41100011.244.333.479.8122.5
F. Cervelli C31000110.227.303.409.7121.5
J. Mercer SS31100100.206.315.278.5933.0
C. Kuhl P10000000.000.111.000.1110.0
D. Hudson P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
a- A. Hanson PH10000001.154.195.256.4520.0
J. Barbato P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
b- J. Osuna PH-LF20110001.226.294.435.7302.0
Total3548313713-----
  • a-grounded out for Hudson in the 5th
  • b-hit into fielder's choice for Barbato in the 7th
BATTING
  • 2B - T. Turner (9), R. Zimmerman (15), A. Rendon (7)
  • 3B - M. Taylor (2)
  • HR - B. Harper (13), W. Difo
  • RBI - J. Werth (12), B. Harper 2 (36), R. Zimmerman 2 (38), M. Wieters (16), W. Difo 2 (5)
  • 2-Out RBI - R. Zimmerman 2 (20)
BATTING
  • 2B - A. Frazier (3), J. Harrison (6), J. Jaso (5), J. Bell (7)
  • HR - J. Harrison (6)
  • RBI - A. Frazier (6), J. Harrison (13), J. Osuna (9)
BASERUNNING
  • SB - T. Turner (7)
FIELDING
  • E - R. Zimmerman (5)
PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
S. Strasburg (W, 4-1)6.04333313.421.1719.5
M. Albers0.01100000.610.00-1.0
O. Perez0.01000004.320.00-1.0
B. Treinen (H, 4)1.00000107.640.003.5
E. Romero (H, 4)1.00000104.580.003.5
K. Glover1.02000203.092.002.0
Total9.0843371---
PITCHERSIP
S. Strasburg (W, 4-1)6.0
M. Albers0.0
O. Perez0.0
B. Treinen (H, 4)1.0
E. Romero (H, 4)1.0
K. Glover1.0
Total9.0
PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
C. Kuhl (L, 1-4)4.010661316.692.75-8.5
D. Hudson1.01000007.311.002.0
J. Barbato2.01000303.270.506.5
W. LeBlanc2.02221212.661.502.0
Total9.01488282---
PITCHERSIP
C. Kuhl (L, 1-4)4.0
D. Hudson1.0
J. Barbato2.0
W. LeBlanc2.0
Total9.0
PITCHING
  • Pitches-Strikes - S. Strasburg 108-68, M. Albers 14-9, O. Perez 4-3, B. Treinen 6-6, E. Romero 17-11, K. Glover 29-21
  • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - S. Strasburg 8-7, M. Albers 1-0, B. Treinen 1-0, E. Romero 1-1, K. Glover 1-0
  • Batters Faced - S. Strasburg 25, M. Albers 2, O. Perez, B. Treinen 2, E. Romero 3, K. Glover 5
PITCHING
  • Pitches-Strikes - C. Kuhl 89-54, D. Hudson 8-4, J. Barbato 24-19, W. LeBlanc 40-28
  • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - C. Kuhl 3-5, D. Hudson 1-1, W. LeBlanc 3-1
  • Batters Faced - C. Kuhl 22, D. Hudson 3, J. Barbato 7, W. LeBlanc 9
  • 9TH INNING
    Harper homered to right, Goodwin scored84
  • 7TH INNING
    Frazier singled to center, Mercer scored, Osuna to second64
    Osuna reached on fielder's choice to first, Bell and Cervelli scored, Mercer to third on 1st baseman Zimmerman fielding error63
  • 5TH INNING
    Wieters singled to deep right, Harper scored, Zimmerman to third61
  • 4TH INNING
    Difo homered to center, Taylor scored51
  • 3RD INNING
    Zimmerman doubled to deep right, Strasburg and Werth scored31
  • 1ST INNING
    Harrison homered to left11
    Werth singled to center, Turner scored10
  • 9TH INNING
    • W. LeBlanc Pitching:
    • T. Turner: Turner grounded out to shortstop
    • J. Werth: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Werth singled to shallow left
    • B. Harper: Ball, Strike looking, Pickoff attempt, Strike swinging, Foul, Harper homered to right, Goodwin scored
    • R. Zimmerman: Strike looking, Foul, Zimmerman grounded out to pitcher
    • A. Rendon: Ball, Ball, Rendon lined out to right
    • Middle of the 9th (2 Runs, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)
    • K. Glover Pitching:
    • F. Cervelli: Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Cervelli struck out swinging
    • J. Mercer: Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Foul, Foul, Foul, Foul, Ball, Foul, Mercer grounded out to pitcher
    • J. Osuna: Ball, Foul, Osuna singled to left
    • A. Frazier: Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Frazier doubled to deep left, Osuna to third
    • J. Harrison: Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Foul, Strike swinging, Harrison struck out swinging
    • End of the 9th (0 Runs, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)
  • 8TH INNING
    • W. LeBlanc Pitching:
    • M. Wieters: Ball, Foul, Ball, Foul, Ball, Ball, Wieters walked
    • M. Taylor: Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Foul, Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Taylor struck out swinging
    • W. Difo: Foul, Strike swinging, Foul, Ball, Foul, Foul, Difo grounded out to second, Wieters to second
    • C. Heisey: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Foul, Strike swinging, Heisey struck out swinging
    • Middle of the 8th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
    • E. Romero Pitching:
    • J. Jaso: Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Ball, Jaso flied out to deep right
    • D. Freese: Foul, Ball, Strike (foul tip), Freese grounded out to shortstop
    • J. Bell: Strike looking, Foul, Foul, Foul, Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Bell struck out swinging
    • End of the 8th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
  • 7TH INNING
    • J. Barbato Pitching:
    • J. Werth: Strike looking, Foul, Strike swinging, Werth struck out swinging
    • B. Harper: Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Harper singled to center
    • R. Zimmerman: Ball, Ball, Zimmerman lined out to right
    • A. Rendon: Rendon flied out to left
    • Middle of the 7th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
    • S. Strasburg Pitching:
    • J. Bell: Ball, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Bell doubled to deep left
    • F. Cervelli: Ball, Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Foul, Foul, Foul, Ball, Cervelli walked
    • J. Mercer: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Ball, Foul, Mercer singled to left, Bell to third, Cervelli to second
    • J. Osuna: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Foul, Osuna reached on fielder's choice to first, Bell and Cervelli scored, Mercer to third on 1st baseman Zimmerman fielding error
    • A. Frazier: Ball, Strike looking, Strike looking, Frazier singled to center, Mercer scored, Osuna to second
    • J. Harrison: Harrison grounded into double play second to shortstop to first, Osuna to third, Frazier out at second
    • A. McCutchen: Strike swinging, Foul, Foul, Foul, Strike swinging, McCutchen struck out swinging
    • End of the 7th (3 Runs, 3 Hits, 1 Error)
  • 6TH INNING
    • J. Barbato Pitching:
    • W. Difo: Foul, Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Difo struck out swinging
    • S. Strasburg: Foul, Strike swinging, Strasburg lined out to shortstop
    • T. Turner: Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Turner struck out swinging
    • Middle of the 6th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
    • S. Strasburg Pitching:
    • J. Harrison: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Harrison doubled to center
    • A. McCutchen: Foul, McCutchen flied out to right
    • J. Jaso: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Jaso struck out swinging
    • D. Freese: Foul, Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Ball, Freese lined out to left
    • End of the 6th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
  • 5TH INNING
    • C. Kuhl Pitching:
    • B. Harper: Ball, Ball, Ball, Ball, Harper walked
    • R. Zimmerman: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Zimmerman reached on an infield single to shortstop, Harper to second
    • A. Rendon: Strike looking, Ball, Rendon lined out to second
    • M. Wieters: Ball, Ball, Wieters singled to deep right, Harper scored, Zimmerman to third
    • M. Taylor: Ball, Taylor grounded into double play second to shortstop to first, Wieters out at second
    • Middle of the 5th (1 Run, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)
    • S. Strasburg Pitching:
    • F. Cervelli: Cervelli grounded out to shortstop
    • J. Mercer: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Foul, Ball, Ball, Mercer walked
    • A. Hanson: Ball, Strike looking, Hanson grounded out to catcher, Mercer to second
    • A. Frazier: Frazier grounded out to second
    • End of the 5th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
  • 4TH INNING
    • C. Kuhl Pitching:
    • M. Wieters: Ball, Ball, Foul, Foul, Foul, Strike swinging, Wieters struck out swinging
    • M. Taylor: Ball, Ball, Taylor tripled to deep right
    • W. Difo: Strike swinging, Ball, Ball, Difo homered to center, Taylor scored
    • S. Strasburg: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Strasburg struck out swinging
    • T. Turner: Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Turner singled to center
    • J. Werth: Pickoff attempt, Strike looking, Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Turner stole second, Werth flied out to right
    • Middle of the 4th (2 Runs, 3 Hits, 0 Errors)
    • S. Strasburg Pitching:
    • A. McCutchen: Strike looking, McCutchen lined out to center
    • J. Jaso: Foul, Strike swinging, Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Jaso struck out swinging
    • D. Freese: Foul, Ball, Foul, Ball, Ball, Ball, Freese walked
    • J. Bell: Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Foul, Bell grounded out to second
    • End of the 4th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
  • 3RD INNING
    • C. Kuhl Pitching:
    • S. Strasburg: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Strasburg singled to right
    • T. Turner: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Turner flied out to right
    • J. Werth: Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Werth singled to shallow right, Strasburg to second
    • B. Harper: Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Harper grounded out to first, Strasburg to third, Werth to second
    • R. Zimmerman: Ball, Strike looking, Zimmerman doubled to deep right, Strasburg and Werth scored
    • A. Rendon: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Ball, Strike looking, Rendon struck out looking
    • Middle of the 3rd (2 Runs, 3 Hits, 0 Errors)
    • S. Strasburg Pitching:
    • C. Kuhl: Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Strike looking, Foul, Kuhl grounded out to second
    • A. Frazier: Strike looking, Ball, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Frazier struck out swinging
    • J. Harrison: Strike swinging, Harrison lined out to third
    • End of the 3rd (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
  • 2ND INNING
    • C. Kuhl Pitching:
    • A. Rendon: Ball, Strike looking, Rendon doubled to left
    • M. Wieters: Ball, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Wieters grounded out to first, Rendon to third
    • M. Taylor: Ball, Ball, Ball, Foul, Strike looking, Taylor popped out to first
    • W. Difo: Difo lined out to second
    • Middle of the 2nd (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
    • S. Strasburg Pitching:
    • J. Bell: Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Bell grounded out to shortstop
    • F. Cervelli: Ball, Ball, Cervelli flied out to deep center
    • J. Mercer: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Mercer grounded out to first
    • End of the 2nd (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
  • 1ST INNING
    • C. Kuhl Pitching:
    • T. Turner: Strike looking, Turner doubled to left
    • J. Werth: Ball, Strike looking, Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Werth singled to center, Turner scored
    • B. Harper: Harper fouled out to third
    • R. Zimmerman: Ball, Strike swinging, Zimmerman grounded into double play second to shortstop to first, Werth out at second
    • Middle of the 1st (1 Run, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)
    • S. Strasburg Pitching:
    • A. Frazier: Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Frazier grounded out to shortstop
    • J. Harrison: Ball, Ball, Foul, Foul, Foul, Harrison homered to left
    • A. McCutchen: McCutchen lined out to center
    • J. Jaso: Foul, Foul, Ball, Jaso doubled to left
    • D. Freese: Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Foul, Freese lined out to right
    • End of the 1st (1 Run, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)