Published November 20, 2014
Bryce Harper had three hits, including a solo home run to lead the Nationals to a 4-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays in the second game of a three-game set.
Harper has picked up three hits in each of the last two games and the Nats have won five straight.
"I have guys around me that are swinging (the bat) and that helps me out even more," said Harper.
Danny Espinosa and Jhonatan Solano also homered for the Nats. It was Solano's first major league home run.
Chien-Ming Wang (2-2) picked up the win, allowing two runs in five innings. He gave up four hits and walked five, but he struck out five Blue Jays.
Henderson Alvarez (3-6) suffered the loss for Toronto, allowing four runs on nine hits. The 22-year-old righty was hurt by the home run ball, surrendering all three.
There wasn't any doubt about Harper's solo homer, which gave the Nationals a 1-0 lead in the third. Alvarez threw a first-pitch changeup and Harper crushed it well over the right-center field wall.
Espinosa gave the Nationals some insurance in the fourth. Adam LaRoche led off with a double to center field. Three batters later, Espinosa jumped on the first pitch and drove it over the center field fence to give Washington a 3-0 lead.
Toronto was able to pull within one in the fifth. Brett Lawrie walked before Jose Bautista turned on a sinker, hitting it far beyond the left-field fence to make it a one-run game.
The Nationals got a run back in the seventh when Alvarez surrendered his third home run of the evening. After falling behind 0-2, Solano laced a breaking ball into the left-field bullpen to make it 4-2.
The Blue Jays were unable to generate any offense against the Nationals' bullpen. In four innings, Washington's bullpen allowed one hit and no walks while striking out three.
Ross Detwiler was perfect in 1 2/3 innings, before righty Craig Stammen came in to pitch to Bautista. After allowing a double to him, Stammen got Edwin Encarnacion to fly out to deep center field to end the seventh.
Sean Burnett pitched a perfect eighth and turned things over to Tyler Clippard, who retired the Blue Jays in order in the ninth to pick up his ninth save.
"It was a great win," said Nationals manager Davey Johnson. "The bullpen did a great job."
Prior to the game, the Blue Jays optioned pitcher Chad Beck and infielder Yan Gomes to Triple-A Las Vegas and recalled pitchers Aaron Laffey and Evan Crawford, who retired the only hitter he faced in Tuesday's game...Toronto has lost five of its last six games...The Nationals have won five of their last six games against the Blue Jays...Bautista tied Ernie Whitt for seventh in team history with 131 home runs...Toronto has homered in 23 of its last 26 games...Bautista has reached base safely in 13 straight games...The Nationals are 14 games over .500 for the first time since July 2005 (54-40 after 94 games)...In his last 20 games, Harper is hitting .382 with two doubles, three triples and five home runs...Washington has not committed an error in 15 of its last 19 games...Washington is 6-2 against the American League this year...Wang is 5-2 in his career against the Blue Jays in 11 starts.