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.
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.
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- Espinosa making most of his playing opportunity
- Strasburg, Nats hope to turn page vs. Cardinals
- Harper, Williams and Werth on benching (VIDEO)
- Bryce Harper benched in Nats' loss to Cardinals for 'lack of hustle'
- Anthony Rendon error costs Nationals in loss to Cardinals
- Nats activate Denard Span from 7-day DL, option Steven Souza, Jr.
- Zimmermann, Nats look for two in a row vs. Cardinals
- Drew Storen comes through in Nats' 3-1 win over Cardinals