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By The Sports Xchange April 20, 2013 6:50 PM
NEW YORK -- Bryce Harper blasted two home runs, including a mammoth solo shot in the eighth inning, to help lead the Washington Nationals to a 7-6 win over the New York Mets Saturday afternoon at Citi Field. Harper, who went 3-for-3 with a walk, broke a 6-all tie by crushing reliever Josh Edgin's first pitch over the wall in right to lead off the eighth inning for his seventh home run of the year. It is the fourth multi-home run game of the left fielder's career. He also had a two-run homer in the third inning. The Nationals scored all of their runs off four home runs, while the Mets scored all six of theirs with two outs. Mets catcher John Buck tied the game at 6 with a two-out double to left in the seventh inning, scoring Daniel Murphy, who legged out an infield single. Tyler Clippard (1-0) picked up the win, striking out two and walking one in 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief. The Nats longest tenured reliever didn't allow a hit. Rafael Soriano picked up his fifth save with a scoreless ninth. Edgin (0-1) was the losing pitcher, giving up one earned run on one hit, while striking out three with no walks in 1 1/3 innings. Shortstop Ian Desmond led off the second inning by taking Jeremy Hefner's first pitch over the left-field wall to give the Nats a 1-0 lead. After Jayson Werth's one-out double to left, Harper hit the first of two homers, a shot to right to extend Washington's lead to 3-0. It was the second straight outing that Hefner allowed two home runs. The Mets rallied, scoring five times in the fourth inning. Collin Cowgill and Ike Turner each had two-run singles to left and Murphy added a run-scoring single to right for the Mets, which scored all of its runs with two outs. New York's lead was short lived, however, as Adam LaRoche belted a three-run home run to left in the top of the fifth inning to give the Nats a 6-5 lead. Reliever Aaron Laffey got two quick outs before walking Werth and giving up a double to Harper. One day after an anticipated pitching showdown between Matt Harvey and Stephen Strasburg, Saturday's starters -- Hefner and Gio Gonzalez -- each only lasted four innings. Hefner gave up three earned runs on four hits, striking out two with three walks, while Gonzalez allowed five earned runs on five hits, striking out five with four walks. NOTES: Washington third baseman Ryan Zimmerman received an MRI on his sore hamstring and missed his second consecutive game. Nats manager Davey Johnson doesn't believe Zimmerman will land on the disabled list. "I know he's concerned about it. Of course, he is a gamer. He wants to play. I thought he was running a little bit better in Miami, but then he came out of the game late because it was tightening up. But I'm going to leave it up to the doctors. If they have any questions about it, I'll stay off him." ... Second baseman Danny Espinosa returned to the lineup after missing four games with swelling in his right hand and wrist. ... Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada missed Saturday's game for precautionary reasons after rolling his ankle Friday night. Justin Turner replaced Tejada, who pinch-hit for Hefner in the fourth. ... Pitching prospect Zach Wheeler has struggled with his command for Triple-A Las Vegas, issuing six walks Friday. He threw 108 pitches in 4 1/3 innings. "We know with Zach's history, he doesn't walk a lot of guys, so when I saw the six base on balls, there's got to be a reason for it," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "So I'll check with Wally [Backman] later."