After Harper’s ejection, Span lifts Nats past Yankees 3-2
WASHINGTON (AP) — Bryce Harper is not known for hiding his thoughts, and so he certainly did not shy away from sharing what was on his mind after getting ejected from a game for the second time in seven days.
He was incredulous.
He was upset.
And the two-time reigning NL Player of the Week, who entered Wednesday with 10 homers in his previous 12 games, wound up in a bit of a he-said, he-said with home plate umpire Marvin Hudson, who kicked out Nationals cleanup hitter Harper and manager Matt Williams in the third inning of a 3-2 victory for Washington over the New York Yankees.
“I don’t think 40,000 people came to watch him ump tonight. Plain and simple. Plain and simple. I mean, I really don’t think they did. Especially when we’re playing the Yankees.
“The Yankees are a good team, we’re a good team and we’re rolling. And, I mean, the way I’m hitting, I don’t want to get tossed,” Harper said. “I don’t think I really did anything bad to get tossed. But maybe he just had a bad morning. Maybe he didn’t get his coffee.”
In his second at-bat, he got into a dispute with Hudson after a first-pitch strike call. Hudson and Williams, in the dugout, went back and forth, too.
Harper and Hudson then had more words after the umpire told the 2012 NL Rookie of the Year to get back in the batter’s box.
“I think the whole thing was me not getting into the box. I really do,” Harper said. “I didn’t look at him one time and show him up.”
Not surprisingly, Hudson’s version was not quite the same.
“Had nothing to do with the box,” he told a pool reporter.
“He didn’t like the pitch, and I let him have his say, going and coming,” Hudson said. “The dugout didn’t like it, and one thing led to another and I had to run him. I had to eject him.”
After Harper was tossed, Williams came out of the dugout, moved Harper out of the way, and got in Hudson’s face. Once Williams was ejected, too, he kicked dirt on home plate — with one swipe by each foot.
“Doggone it, he’s our best player and arguably the best player on the planet right now. And we need him in the game,” Williams said. “And I don’t feel as if there was any need to throw him out.”
Harper also was ejected from a game May 13, against Arizona, and the Nationals won that, part of a 17-4 run that moved them atop the NL East.
That day, the player who replaced Harper in the lineup, Michael A. Taylor, hit a grand slam in the ninth.
Taylor again subbed for the right fielder, but this time, it was Denard Span who completed Washington’s 12th comeback victory, driving in the tiebreaking unearned run with a bases-loaded single off reliever Justin Wilson in the seventh after an error by third baseman Chase Headley and two walks.
Jordan Zimmermann (4-2) earned the win. Adam Warren (2-3) was charged with the loss.
Drew Storen got his 12th save, striking out Alex Rodriguez on three pitches with a man on to end it.
As he watched the last, 95 mph pitch land in catcher Wilson Ramos’ glove and heard Hudson’s game-ending strike call, Rodriguez threw his head back.
“I didn’t think it was a strike,” Rodriguez said, “but I’m not the ump.”
Nationals SS Ian Desmond homered in the first inning for the second straight game.
“When Desi starts driving the ball in the middle of the diamond, he’s seeing it better and he’s staying on the baseball,” Williams said. “So nice to see that from him. He feels better about it over the last couple of days.”
Yankees: CF Jacoby Ellsbury went on the 15-day DL a day after wrenching his knee when his cleat got stuck on a swing.
Nationals: INF Anthony Rendon, who is on the DL, took some grounders at 2B and 3B and “did some light swinging in the cage” at Nationals Park before the game, Williams said.
Yankees: Open a three-game series at home against Texas, with RHP Michael Pineda (5-1, 3.31 ERA) facing RHP Colby Lewis (3-2, 3.06). Pineda is coming off his first loss of the season.
Nationals: In Friday’s series opener against Philadelphia, RHP Max Scherzer (4-3, 1.75 ERA) pitches against RHP Sean O’Sullivan (1-2, 3.68) for the third time in 2015. Scherzer earned the win in each of the first two matchups.