Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper stole the show Saturday at Canal Park, mesmerizing the home crowd with a power display that included three home runs.
Harper, who is with visiting Harrisburg on a rehab assignment for the left thumb he injured in April, was a combining 2-for-5 with three walks, two RBI and two stolen bases in his first two games against the Ducks in the series.
Saturday he flashed the one element of his game missing - his power - by going 4-for-5 with three home runs and five RBI as the Senators designated hitter. Harper went yard to each part of the field with a pair of solo shots in the third and fifth innings followed by a three-run blast in the eighth.
After Harper hit into a double play in his first plate appearance, he promptly made up for lost time by blasting a trio of home runs – one to each part of the field to help the Senators (32-47) cruise to a 10-4 victory over the host RubberDucks (46-35).
Akron starting pitcher Duke von Schamann was Harper’s victim twice, beginning with a two-out solo home run in the third inning. The blast came on the right-hander’s first offering - a pitch Harper deposited an estimated 400 feet into the visitor’s bullpen to increase the Senators lead to 2-0. In his next at-bat in the fifth, Harper took von Schamann’s 2-2 pitch the other way for a softer solo shot over the left field wall.
Von Schamann (3-2, 3.69 ERA) allowed five runs on 13 hits in five innings to take the loss.
In the seventh inning, Harper smacked a single into left field against Ducks reliever Toru Murata. But he was quickly caught stealing on a laser throw by Ducks catcher Tony Wolters when he started for second but turned around to scamper back and was easily tagged out by shortstop Erick Gonzalez.
But Harper was apparently just warming up for his final blast of the night – a mammoth three-run shot of 400-plus feet against Murata, a straight away shot to center field.
“The first home run was on a 2-0 pitch and I knew he got it good,” Harrisburg manager Brian Daubach said. “But the next at bat he saw a lot of pitches and you could see him getting locked in. The last at-bat the same thing - he fought off a few to get to a 3-2 count and (Murata) threw a fastball up and away. That's the kind of power Bryce has - he can do a lot of damage.”
The teams wrap up the series today at 2:05 p.m. at Canal Park. Right-hander Brett Brach (1-2, 5.63) for the Ducks and right-hander Joe Colon (7-4, 2.84) for the Senators are the scheduled pitchers.