Harper Gets First Major League RBI in Nationals’ Loss to Dodgers

Washington Nationals leftfielder Bryce Harper hit a double and drove in a run in his Major League Baseball debut that was marred by Matt Kemp’s walk-off home run in the 10th inning that gave the Los Angeles Dodgers a 4-3 victory.

Harper, the top pick of the 2010 draft, was called up from the minors two days ago to replace Ryan Zimmerman, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list.

“I really didn’t have butterflies at all,” the 19-year- old told reporters. “I think that’s one of the first times I’ve never gotten butterflies. I was sitting in the dugout before the game and I was thinking to myself: ‘Wow, I’m in the big leagues.’”

Harper, who was 1-for-3 last night, hit a double in the seventh inning, and then blasted a sacrifice fly in the ninth to send home Rick Ankiel and give the Nationals a 2-1 lead before Juan Uribe tied the game by hitting a run-scoring ground-rule double and then scoring on Henry Rodriguez’s wild pitch.

“The kid played a heck of a ballgame,” manager Davey Johnson said in a televised interview. “He was great. He had nothing but quality bats.”

Pitcher Stephen Strasburg, the No. 1 pick in the 2009 draft, struck out nine batters in seven innings before he was relieved. He allowed one run on five hits for the Nationals (14- 7), who lead the National League East.

“Strasburg was outstanding,” Johnson said. “A lot of good things -- just a bad ending.”

Fourth Home Run

Adam LaRoche gave the Nationals a 1-0 lead in the seventh inning with his fourth home run of the season. A.J. Ellis tied the game on a run-scoring single in the seventh for the Dodgers (15-6), who lead the NL West.

Harper hit his RBI in the ninth and Wilson Ramos followed with a run-scoring single to put the Nationals ahead 3-1.

“My dad told me: ‘Just to go out and have fun. It’s the same game you’ve been playing your whole life,’” Harper told reporters.

Jamey Wright (1-0) pitched a perfect inning, striking out two for the win. Tom Gorzelanny (1-1) took the loss on Kemp’s home run.

At Yankee Stadium, Drew Smyly got his first major league victory as the Detroit Tigers defeated the New York Yankees 7-5 to even the three-game series at 1-1.

Dirks’s Homer

Detroit’s Andy Dirks hit a three-run homer in the first inning to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead, while Nick Swisher hit the first of his two solo home runs for the Yankees (11-9) to narrow the gap to 3-1.

Brennan Boesch doubled to score Alex Avila and Miguel Cabrera hit a single to send home Austin Jackson and Boesch as the Tigers (11-10) moved ahead 6-1 in the second inning. Cabrera hit a solo home run in the eighth.

Curtis Granderson had a home run in the seventh and Swisher tallied his second home run while Granderson hit a run-scoring single and then scored on Raul Ibanez’s double in the ninth inning for the Yankees.

Smyly allowed one run on two hits and struck out seven in six innings for the win. Freddy Garcia gave up six runs on five hits in 1 2/3rds innings.

In other American League games, it was the Los Angeles Angels 2, Cleveland 1; Toronto 7, Seattle 0; Baltimore 10, Oakland 1; Boston 1, the Chicago White Sox 0; and Texas 7, Tampa Bay 2. Rain forced the cancellation of the Kansas City-Minnesota game which will be played as part of a day-night doubleheader on June 30.

In the National League, it was St. Louis 7, Milwaukee 3; Cincinnati 6, Houston 0; Philadelphia 5, the Chicago Cubs 2; Pittsburgh 4, Atlanta 2; Miami 3, Arizona 2; the New York Mets 7, Colorado 5; and San Francisco 2, San Diego 1.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nancy Kercheval in Washington at nkercheval@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.