Jul 2, 2013, 2:08 AM EDT
USA Today Sports Images
Bryce Harper homered on his very first swing back off the DL.
Game in a nutshell: The Nationals had been waiting five weeks for Bryce Harper to return from the DL and inject some life into their moribund lineup, but even they couldn't have foreseen this kind of dramatic effect. Harper stepped to the plate in the bottom of the first to a standing ovation, then kept them all on his feet when he homered into the left-field bullpen. His teammates took over from there, scoring five times in the third and twice more in the fourth to take a commanding 8-0 lead. Well, it should've been a commanding lead, except Jordan Zimmermann surprisingly let the Brewers claw their way back, trimming the deficit at one point to 8-5. No worries, because the back end of the Nationals bullpen clamped things down late and the lineup added two insurance runs in the eighth, completing a very comfortable victory to open this homestand. With 23 runs over their last two games, they're now back to two games over the .500 mark and once again feeling good about themselves.
Hitting highlight: Obviously, there were plenty of early fireworks, but it all started with one sweet swing from the young man whoRead more »
NL EAST STANDINGS
Through Saturday's games
NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS
y-Clinched playoff berth
Through Saturday's games
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Marlins at Nats (DH), 1:05 p.m., 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Marlins at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
Full season schedule
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
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- His thumb healthy, Harper tearing it up at plate