Harper’s ‘Play Me or Trade Me’ Rallying Cry Leads Nats to 3rd Straight Victory
WASHINGTON — Bryce Harper drove in three runs after talking his way into Washington’s lineup, Ryan Zimmerman knocked in the go-ahead run and the Nationals rallied for a 5-4 win over the San Diego Padres on Saturday.
Adam LaRoche homered, and Denard Span and Ian Desmond added two hits apiece as the Nationals won their third straight.
Harper lobbied Davey Johnson for playing time earlier in the day after the Washington manager said Friday night that he was probably going to give the young slugger the weekend off.
“Play me or trade me,” Johnson recited the text he received from Harper the previous night.
Harper walked with the bases loaded in the third, hit an RBI single in the fifth and drove in the tying run in the seventh with a sacrifice fly.
Since returning from the disabled list and homering in his first at-bat Monday night against Milwaukee, Harper had gone 0 for 18 before his RBI single. He was 0 for 4 with a sacrifice fly in Friday night’s 8-5 win over San Diego.
Jesus Guzman hit a three-run homer and doubled for San Diego, which has lost eight straight.
Ross Ohlendorf (2-0) got the win and Rafael Soriano pitched the ninth for his 24th save. Soriano allowed a pair of singles with one out, but retired pinch hitter Mark Kotsay and Everth Cabrera — on a diving stop by LaRoche at first — to end it.
The Nationals trailed 4-3 when they came up in the seventh. Span and Desmond singled off reliever Nick Vincent (2-1) with one out, and left-hander Joe Thatcher came on to face Harper. After a wild pitch advanced both runners, Harper lifted a fly ball to left and Span scored easily after the catch to tie it.
Zimmerman followed with a RBI single off Luke Gregerson to score Desmond with the go-ahead run.
Trailing 3-1 in the sixth, the Padres got one-out singles from Carlos Quentin and Chase Headley.
Johnson lifted starter Jordan Zimmermann after he had thrown 101 pitches and brought in Ohlendorf to face Guzman, who deposited a 1-1 fastball in the Padres’ bullpen to give San Diego the lead.
Zimmermann allowed three runs and five hits in 5 1-3 innings, striking out four and walking one.
The Padres went 1 for 13 with runners in scoring position.
San Diego starter Jason Marquis went six innings, allowing three runs on eight hits. He struck out three, walked three and also contributed at the plate with a double and an RBI groundout.
Washington took the lead in the third. Anthony Rendon led off with a single and Kurt Suzuki doubled him to third. Zimmermann struck out, but Span walked to load the bases. Desmond grounded into a fielder’s choice, with Rendon out at home, but Harper walked to make it 1-0.
LaRoche made it 2-0 when he led off the fourth with his 13th homer of the season, a line drive into the Nationals” bullpen.
San Diego got a run back in the fifth when Logan Forsythe walked and later scored on Marquis’ grounder to short.
Washington got it right back when Span singled, stole second, went to third on a bloop single by Desmond and scored on Harper’s single.
NOTES: Padres C Yasmani Grandal was hurt on Rendon’s slide and left the game with a right knee sprain. . Johnson said starting pitcher Ross Detwiler experienced discomfort in his back when he threw his bullpen session and is questionable for his scheduled Monday start at Philadelphia. . Padres manager Bud Black said 2B Jedd Gyorko (groin) did some running before Saturday’s game and hopes to play a minor league rehab game in the middle of next week. . San Diego LHP Robbie Erlin (1-1, 4.34 ERA) opposes Stephen Strasburg (4-6, 2.24) in Sunday’s series finale.
Follow 106.7 The Fanon Twitter.
(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)