An enraged Bryce Harper charged the mound, fired his helmet and traded punches to the head with San Francisco reliever Hunter Strickland after getting hit by a fastball, setting off a wild brawl Monday during the Washington Nationals' 3-0 win over the Giants.
Strickland's first-pitch fastball plunked Harper with two outs, the bases empty and the Giants down by two runs in the eighth. The slugger pointed his bat at Strickland, yelled at him and took off.
"It's go time", Strickland said of his mindset as Harper approached the mound, per Pavlovic. Then came an exchange of artlessly missed punches, an open-handed slap to Harper's face and a fist that mostly mashed the bill of Strickland's hat.
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As mentioned, Harper and Strickland definitely have a history. Plus, it's possible Harper was trying to just distract Hunter Strickland while preparing to throw a haymaker. They have some history between them.
Harper, some will recall, launched two home runs off Strickland during the 2014 National League Division Series.
"I don't want to go into a baseball game trying to fight somebody, especially when it's in the past, so in the past it's not even relevant anymore", Harper said after the Nationals finished their 3-0 victory.
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"That was three years ago, a thousand days I guess you could say", Harper continued.
The keyboard warriors over at Twitter dot com, unfazed by Harper throwing haymakers over a three-year beef with a relief pitcher, had some fun at the outfielder's expense.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy said the situation "looked bad" and that he had discussed the incident with Strickland, per Pavlovic. Like I said, I left the ball over the plate to him a couple of times to him and he's taken advantage of that. "He's not a punching bag", the manager said. The bad thing is, he'll probably get a couple games out of it, when he actually saved other guys from being thrown out by doing that. "Obviously, I got in a little too far". You don't want to make a mistake there. "I mean, that's the prime time to hit somebody if you're going to hit them, it looked like it was intentional to me", he said.
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Ryan Zimmerman gave the Nats (31-19) the only run they'd need, smashing a solo shot off Moore to lead off the second. Nunez hadn't been placed on the seven-day concussion list before Monday's game. The Nationals optioned LHP Matt Grace to Triple-A Syracuse. It goes back to the 2014 NLDS, when the latter beat the former (and went on to win the World Series). By the time Roark finished his work Monday, Nationals starters had allowed 12 earned runs in their last 54⅔ innings - good for an ERA of 1.98.