Harper steals show as Nationals beat Diamondbacks

Associated Press Modified: May 2, 2012 at 10:46 pm •  Published: May 2, 2012
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Even Harper's seventh-inning flyout to centerfield, just short of the warning track, drew gasps.

"He's got a lot of energy," Desmond said. "He brings a lot of energy to the team, and that may have been what we needed."

Jayson Werth singled in the eighth inning after Upton dropped a foul ball, keeping Werth at the plate. That put two runners on base, but Craig Breslow entered the game and retired the next three batters, the final two by strikeout. That also delayed Harper's fourth plate appearance to the ninth inning.

When Desmond came up in the ninth, he followed the advice he previously gave Harper and Steve Lombardozzi.

"Frank Robinson told me that you've got to watch the pitcher, you've got to watch the pitcher, you've got to watch the pitcher," Desmond said.

Desmond saw Putz was elevating his fastball and splitter high, and locked in on those pitches. The win comes after a stretch where the Nationals' struggles at the plate drew plenty of attention.

"You guys are asking the wrong questions," Desmond said. "We're in first place. We're playing good baseball."

Notes: Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, who's on the disabled list with an inflamed right shoulder, could return Tuesday at Pittsburgh, according to Johnson. That will depend on a Friday hitting session, but not a rehab assignment. "I'll take him cold turkey," Johnson said. ... Chien-Ming Wang, who's recovering from a left hamstring strain, will throw two more rehab stints of about 75 pitches each before a decision is made on his next step, Johnson said. Johnson said he hadn't decided whether Wang will start or relieve upon his return. ... Washington pitcher Stephen Strasburg won National League Pitcher of the Month for April, becoming the first National to claim honor besides Chad Cordero, who won in June 2005. Strasburg went 2-0 in five starts with a 1.13 earned-run average, a league-best 34 strikeouts and six walks. ... Stephen Drew (ankle) will play three innings Thursday in a rehab assignment, Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. ... Diamondbacks pitcher Wade Miley won National League Rookie of the Month for April. He won both his starts and one of his three relief appearances, notching a 1.29 earned-run average and striking out 15 in 21 innings. "It's nice, but at the same time, I told him to keep the same hat size," Gibson said.



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