Harper hits broken-bat HR, helps Nats rally past Mets

Associated Press
NBC Sports Washington

NEW YORK  -- Bryce Harper hit a startling, broken-bat homer early, then grounded a key single during a six-run surge in the eighth inning that sent the Washington Nationals past the New York Mets 8-6 Monday night.

The Nationals rallied against five pitchers in their big burst, winning for just the fourth time in 13 games. The Mets had been off to the best start in franchise history behind the top bullpen in the majors before collapsing.

Trailing 6-1, Washington combined five hits, three walks and a hit batter to take the lead.

Harper's two-run single off Jerry Blevins made it 6-3. Wilmer Difo tied it with a two-out, two-run single off Jeurys Familia, and Michael A. Taylor drew a bases-loaded walk from the Mets closer for the go-ahead run.

Howie Kendrick added a solo homer in the ninth.

Harper's major league-leading eighth home run was a show of shear power and strength. His bat broke into two pieces, but the ball still flew an estimated 406 feet to right-center field.

Harper connected for a solo drive in the first inning off Jacob deGrom. The bat shattered just above his hands, and the barrel helicoptered into the high, protective netting behind home plate on the first base side.

The five-time All-Star trotted most of the way to first holding the few inches of the handle that remained. On his way back to the dugout, Harper playfully pulled up his sleeve to show his biceps.

DeGrom struck out 12 in 7 1/3 innings, the longest outing by a Mets pitcher this season. He was cruising when he left with two on, one out and a five-run lead. He also drove in a run with a safety squeeze.

A.J. Cole (1-1) got the win despite giving up Asdrubal Cabrera's two-run homer in the seventh that made it 6-1. Ryan Madson got his second save.

AJ Ramos (0-1) took the loss.

Nationals starter Jeremy Hellickson gave up two runs in 4 2/3 innings of his Nationals debut. Signed to a minor league contract late in spring training, he was added to the roster before the game.

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