The Juice: Bryce Harper nabs first game-ending hit, two-homer efforts rule night’s action

Kevin Kaduk
Big League Stew

The Juice is back for its fifth season of fun! Stop by each weekday for an ample serving of news from the action, plus great photos, stats and video highlights.

Harper sends 'em home: Fans at Nationals Park who were waiting for Bryce Harper to do something ... anything! ... on Tuesday night were finally rewarded in the bottom of the 12th inning. With the score tied and the bases loaded, the 19-year-old rookie lined a RBI single to left field for the first walk-off hit of his career and a wild 7-6 win over the New York Mets.

The ensuing euphoria saw the Nationals take sole possession of first place in the tight NL East and erased the frustration of what had been a rather meager night for Harper. Before his last at-bat, Harper had been 1 for 6 at the plate.

''I'm happy to get the 'W,' of course. I'm happy to get that walk-off hit, but I don't like going 2 for 7," Harper said. "I don't like striking out twice in one game, either.[...]

"[But] to get that moment at the end, that wipes everything away."

Shortstop Ian Desmond said Harper is one of the best players he's ever seen, but the rookie wouldn't have had a chance to be the hero if it weren't for his teammate. Though the Mets took leads in the top of the eighth, 10th and 12th innings, it was Desmond whose plate appearances — including an RBI single in the eighth and a RBI double in the 12th — resulted in a tie game in all three innings. According to Elias, he's the first player with three tying "RBI events" (the run he brought in during the 10th resulted from an infield error) since Art Shamsky did it for Cincinnati in 1966.

If you haven't seen it, here's the Harper highlight. Someday you'll tell your kids you watched Harper's first walk-off hit while taking a sip of the Stew's Juice (and someday your kids will have absolutely no idea what you're talking about):

Twice as nice: A few players doubled their pleasure and doubled their fun on Tuesday night by clubbing two home runs during their team wins. The Angels' Mark Trumbo did it in a 6-1 win over Seattle,  the Padres' Carlos Quentin went double deep at Petco during a 6-5 victory over San Francisco and Atlanta's Dan Uggla couldn't be confined by Marlins Park either, homering twice in a 11-o whitewashing of Miami. It was far from the biggest night for two-homer games this season, though. Five different players went yard twice back on April 7.

Elian Again: The Los Angeles Dodgers have made a cottage industry of having a different hero from an unexpected roster spot every night, but they went with a repeat for their 2-1 win over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Elian Herrera recorded the go-ahead hit for the second straight night, banging a two-out double off the left-field wall that scored Dee Gordon and Bobby Abreu. The inning ruined what had been a great night for the Phillies' Cliff Lee, who entered the frame with only two hits on his ledger. Lee is 0-3 this season despite a 2.92 ERA, and the Phillies have scored a total of only 16 runs over his first nine starts.

Resilient against the Red Sox: Despite Jason Jim Johnson's first blown save of the season, Baltimore improved to 4-0 at Fenway Park this season with an 8-6 win over Boston in 10 innings. The win, combined with a Rays loss, moved the O's — who came into the game having lost seven of their past eight games —  back into a share of first place in the AL East.

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Quote of the Day: "I don't really try to strike guys out'' —New York Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte, who, despite his humility, struck out 10 Tampa Bay Rays batters during a 7-0 win on Tuesday night. Pettitte allowed only two hits over his 7 1/3 innings of work and moved his record at Yankee Stadium this season to 3-1 with a 1.88 ERA.

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Photo of the Day: Footspeed to first

Cubs speedster Tony Campana took advantage of Yovani Gallardo and Corey Hart mixing their signals on a ground ball by sliding into first for an infield hit in the fifth inning of Chicago's 10-0 rout over the Brewers at Miller Park. Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster was perfect through five innings and earned his first victory since last August.

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Three facts for the water cooler

• Colby Rasmus' 5-for-5 night in a 9-5 victory over the White Sox raised the Blue Jays outfielder's average 20 points to .247. It was the first five-hit game of Rasmus' career.

• Cleveland's Ubaldo Jimenez has walked a league-leading 42 batters in 56 innings this year, but he didn't issue a free pass until his final batter in the seventh inning of a 4-2 win over Detroit.

• A 9-8 Cardinals' loss brought Jaime Garcia's career record against the Astros to 0-5 in seven career starts. The left-hander later said something was wrong with his arm, a statement that won't be taken lightly by St. Louis fans given he was scratched from his previous start with a sore elbow.

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