For the first time in team history, the Washington Nationals had three players participate in the MLB All-Star Game. Washington has quietly ascended to the top of the National League East standings, but Tuesday, a national audience was introduced to pitchers Gio Gonzalez and Stephen Strasburg as well as outfielder Bryce Harper.
All things considered, all three had their All-Star moments. That doesn't mean they were all good, though...
Gonzalez was the first Nat to make an appearance in Tuesday's game. He faced three batters in the bottom of the third, striking out Rangers catcher Mike Napoli, getting Yankees outfielder Curtis Granderson to fly out, and Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter to ground out to end the inning.
Strasburg followed Gonzalez in the bottom of the fourth, but could not get a 1-2-3 inning. He gave up a single to Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano and walked Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista, but did not give up a run in his half-inning of duty.
Harper entered the game in the top of the fifth inning to replace Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran and led off against Angels pitcher Jered Weaver. Harper drew a walk in his lone at-bat and advanced to second when Giants catcher Buster Posey flied out to left.
On the next play, Mets third baseman David Wright grounded into a fielder's choice as Harper got caught in a run down between second and third.
In the bottom half of the inning, we witnessed Harper's first All-Star blunder when he lost Napoli's fly ball in left field and could not make the catch as the ball dropped harmlessly behind him. Harper redeemed himself, however, when he recorded the final out after the AL loaded the bases to keep the NL's 8-0 lead intact.
In his second plate appearance, Harper struck out looking on three pitches.
The second half of the season resumes Friday against the Miami Marlins. Now that the NL has home-field advantage after its 8-0 win Tuesday, perhaps the Nats are a bit more motivated.
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