By Sam Bush
It was a chilly and rainy night in the Nation’s Capital, and Bryce Harper added to the National fans’ discomfort.
He returned to Washington and the Phils’ slugger had the last laugh with a home run in the Phillies’ 8-2 victory over the Nationals.
Harper, a six-time All-Star in seven seasons with the Nationals, inked a record-shattering 13-year, $330 million free agent contract with the Phillies in March, ending months of speculation about his future.
In his first return to Washington with his new team, Nats fans left no doubt about their feelings, with raucous boos greeting Harper during pre-game introductions and every time he took the field.
One bunch of fans sported T-shirts spelling out “T-R-A-I-T-O-R.”
When Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer struck out Harper in the first inning the cheers were ecstatic, Nats fans clearly not mollified by Harper’s Tuesday morning Instagram post thanking Washington and its fans for making him “one of your own for the entire time I was part of the Nationals organization.”
Two innings later Harper went to the plate again to another chorus of boos and his seven-pitch at-bat ended in another strike out by Scherzer.
In the fifth, Harper lined a curveball from Scherzer into right field for a double to extend the inning after which Scherzer departed.
In the sixth, Philadelphia’s Jean Seguara belted a three-run double off left-handed reliever Matt Grace to put the Phillies up 5-0.
Harper followed with a run-scoring single that made it 6-0 — and sparked taunting chants from Phillies fans in attendance of “We’ve got Harper.”
Finally, in the eighth inning, Harper drilled a 2-2 fastball from Jeremy Hellickson into the second deck of the stands for his third home run of the season.
He flipped his bat toward the Nationals’ dugout before rounding the bases then celebrated with his Phillies teammates — a Nationals treasure no more.