WASHINGTON – Bryce Harper had a hand in everything for the Nationals.
The Las Vegas native made a tumbling, barehanded catch in center field and then led off the ninth inning with a double to set the stage for Ian Desmond’s two-out, game-ending home run that gave Washington a 5-4 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday night.
“He was born for these situations,” Nationals manager Davey Johnson said.
In the sixth inning, Harper fell down in the right-center gap while attempting to catch a fly ball off Jason Kubel’s bat. As he landed in the grass, Harper secured the ball in his ungloved right hand.
Harper, the No. 1 pick in the 2010 draft, also had his first multi-hit game with two doubles and a single from the No. 7 spot in the lineup. He scored his first run in the fourth inning, knocking the ball out of catcher Miguel Montero’s glove.
The Nationals snapped their five-game losing streak and ended the Diamondbacks’ three-game winning streak.
Henry Rodriguez (1-1) struck out two in the top of the ninth to earn the win. J.J. Putz (0-2) blew the save and took the loss. After Harper’s leadoff double, Putz struck out the next two batters before Desmond’s homer to left.
“He’s got a lot of energy,” Desmond said of Harper, who is 5-for-13 in the majors. “That may have been what we needed.”