This kid: In the span of five major-league games, Bryce Harper has gone from curiosity to essential for the Washington Nationals. Manager Davey Johnson batted the 19-year-old rookie third in the order Thursday night and Harper came through with a go-ahead RBI double in the sixth inning of Washington's 2-1 victory against Arizona. Harper had batted seventh in his first four games. He's 6 for 16 with four doubles so far.
''He's a baseball player,'' teammate Jayson Werth said. ''When you're a baseball player, you can be 15 or you can be 50. If you know how to play the game you can play.''
Can't top this (du, du-du-du): Anything that Jered Weaver can do, Brandon Morrow can do ... almost as well. A day after Weaver no-hit the Minnesota Twins, Morrow tossed a three-hit shutout at the Los Angeles Angels. Also backed by J.P. Arencibia's three-run homer, the Toronto Blue Jays won 5-0. It was Morrow's second career shutout, his other coming in 2010 when he struck out 17 against the Rays. That day, in Dave Stieb-like fashion, Morrow had a no-no broken up by Evan Longoria with two outs in the ninth.
"I missed more bats that night, but I think I pitched better tonight,'' Morrow said. ''My fastball command was really what did it for me. That's probably the best I've ever been with that. I mean, I felt like I could have hit that down-and-away strike with my eyes closed. I probably could have thrown all fastballs the way I was locating.''
Damn: In case you missed it, Mariano Rivera tore the ACL in his right knee shagging a fly ball during batting practice. He's probably out for the season. Perhaps for good. Rivera's loss also overshadowed a 4-3 loss by the New York Yankees at Kansas City. Mike Moustakas homered and drove in three runs, and Royals left-hander Danny Duffy was a tad better than Yanks rookie David Phelps.
Miami: A sound machine after all?:
The Miami Marlins completed a three-game sweep at San Francisco with a 3-2 victory. Anibal Sanchez allowed one run and seven hits over seven innings, and Edward Mujica got the ninth instead of Heath Bell (who had pitched in three straight games) to pick up the save. Ryan Vogelsong pitched OK for the Giants, aside from four walks, but he lacked run support. And he won't be getting much from Pablo Sandoval, who has a broken hamate bone in his left hand and is out up to six weeks.
* * *
Quote of the Day: "We are all Kipnisses," — Cleveland Indians pitcher Justin Masterson, coining a phrase and (hopefully) a meme for teammate Jason Kipnis that riffs off LeBron James signature advertising phrase. Kipnis hit a three-run homer and triple to lead the Tribe past the White Sox 7-5 at Chicago (where Kipnis grew up).
* * *
Photo of the Day: Now is the time on "Sprockets" when the Atlanta Braves ...
Martin Prado and Eric O'Flaherty engage in a ritualistic dance while Craig Kimbrel (luggage) stops to admire them.
* * *
Three Facts for the Water Cooler
• White Sox left-hander John Danks has a 6.51 ERA in seven career starts against the Indians at U.S. Cellular Field.
• Pittsburgh Pirates pitchers (say that 10 times fast ... hey, you can!) struck out a combined 17 batters in a 6-3 victory at St. Louis. That's a team record. Lefty Erik Bedard fanned 11.
* * *