Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman hit clutch home runs late in Nationals-Cubs

It started with an Adam Lind hit off of Carl Edwards Jr.


Without him, it might have happened again Saturday night.

And not to this batter.

But the Cubs tied it with a home run in the second inning and took their 3-1 lead with a two-run homer in the fourth.

“I was trying to get a pitch I could drive and I got one”. Through the first seven innings of Game 2, it was more of the same, as the Nationals’ only hits off starter Jon Lester were a solo home run by Anthony Rendon in the first and a fifth-inning single by Ryan Zimmerman. Before the five-run outburst in the eighth inning, the Nationals had only four hits over the first 16 innings of the series.

Bryant, Rizzo said, managed to “get the monkey off the back in the dugout for all of us”.

Sean Doolittle would come in and shut the door on the Cubs. “For me a ideal situation to try to get the ball on the ground (for a Zimmerman double play.) Didn’t happen”.

Edwards is a right-handed pitcher.

A long battle in which Edwards failed to locate his fastball-several times the righty tried to jam Harper inside-gave way to a meatball of a curve, and Harper banged it a long way to right to tie the game (-.388).

“Of course you do”, Maddon said. “That was the right option. Right man, right spot”. “I hit it good but really high”.

Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant (17) takes a warm up swing before going to the plate against the Cincinnati Reds during an exhibition game at Cashman Field on Sunday, March 26, 2017, in Las Vegas. “Everything has been wonderful”, he added, not mentioning any final scores, like, you know, a 6-3 that looked like a mortal 3-1 lock for the Cubs. He was only 4 for 25 overall in the regular season and playoffs after coming back until that key, possibly series-altering, at-bat. There he would develop into arguably the best pitcher of his generation, as he picked up 194 wins in 11 years with the Braves in helping them to the playoffs in every season. “Who knows?” Zimmerman said. Baseball is contagious when you’re going well and also when you’re going bad. When you hang it, it gets banged.

It didn’t matter because, despite getting the very best version of Stephen Strasburg that they ever could have hoped for, the Nationals still lost. The ball was caught by a Cubs fan but ultimately reviewed and ruled to be not be fan interference. “We let them down the first game, obviously, and then for seven or so innings of this game, we didn’t do much to help them, either”.

They said they’d find pitching, and they did, fairly easily. But to get this nod for Game 1, just to try to set the tone for the team is huge. You have to capitalize on mistakes if they are forthcoming, especially a game like that. “You’re playing against one of the best teams in all of baseball, but you have to understand that we are one of the best teams in all of baseball as well”. This is what you live for. “That’s the hard part”.

Harper’s homer was a truly special force-of-nature thing.


“I was wondering what we can do from afar”, Harper said. But Scherzer – he of the two Cy Young awards and one tweaked hammy – needs extra time to convalesce and isn’t slated to pitch until Game 3 in Chicago.

Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper listens