Harper shows fiery side


MIAMI - Bryce Harper's first two-homer game ended with his latest tantrum.

The quick-tempered rookie was ejected for spiking his helmet in the ninth inning and drew a scolding from manager Davey Johnson, even though he helped the first-place Washington Nationals snap a five-game skid by beating the Miami Marlins 8-4 Wednesday night.

With a chance for a third homer, Harper instead grounded into a double play in the ninth. After crossing the bag, he angrily spiked his helmet, and it nearly hit first-base umpire C.B. Bucknor, who ejected him.

"Bryce couldn't control his emotions again," Johnson said. "I had a little chat with him. He'll get over it. He's just a hundred-percenter. He expects great things out of himself, breaks bats, throws his helmet. He's just got to stop it. We can't afford to be losing him in a ballgame. He'll learn. He's young."

Harper's most notorious outburst came in May, when he slammed his bat against the side of a tunnel in frustration, and the barrel smacked off the wall and hit his temple just above the left eye, causing a gash that needed 10 stitches.

He was unhurt but sheepish after the latest incident.

"I shouldn't have done it, but I don't like hitting into double plays," said Harper, 19. "I just need to stop getting mad and live with it. I just need to grow up in that mentality a little bit and try not to bash stuff in. I've always done it my whole life. Things need to change."

His swing the Nationals like just fine. Harper hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning and added a solo shot in the fifth, giving the rookie 14 this season.

"I felt good up there," Harper said. "I saw some pitches I could drive and did some damage."

Before the game, Johnson called a brief team meeting, which he described as upbeat. The pep talk stirred the Nationals' bats, and they had 14 hits.

Michael Morse had an RBI single and drove in another run with a triple. Kurt Suzuki hit his first homer with the Nationals in the ninth off Heath Bell.

Washington starter Ross Detwiler (8-6) allowed three runs in 5 2/3 innings. Drew Storen came on with runners at second and third in the eighth and retired three consecutive batters to protect a 6-4 lead.

Rookie Jacob Turner (0-2) allowed five runs in five innings in his second start with the Marlins after he was acquired from Detroit in July.

 

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