Jul 7, 2013, 1:42 AM EDT
The day began with Bryce Harper talking his way into the lineup, telling his manager via text message to either “play me or trade me.” It ended with Harper earning his second straight All-Star berth and driving in three runs, then watching from left field as his Nationals teammates hung on for dear life to pull off a 5-4 win over the Padres that catapulted this improving ballclub to new heights.
Just another afternoon at Nationals Park, where a sunburned crowd of 33,314 experienced the full range of emotions on Saturday, ultimately cheering along with the home team after Rafael Soriano closed out a nip-and-tick victory.
“We’re starting to play better baseball,” third baseman Ryan Zimmerman said. “We’re coming together. We’re getting a little lucky.”
Perhaps there were a few fortunate bounces in this game, but the Nationals also made their own luck. They delivered several hits in the clutch. They got a dominant relief performance from Drew Storen. And then they flashed some serious leather in the ninth inning to clinch their third straight win — their eighth in 12 games — and raise their record to 45-42.
NL EAST STANDINGS
THE BASEBALL SHOW
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MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
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