Philadelphia Phillies’ ’02 1st Rounder, left-hander Cole Hamels, retired the first two Washington Nationals he faced on seven pitches in the bottom of the first Sunday night in Nationals Park, then the 28-year-old starter hit 19-year-old Nats’ 2010 1st Round pick Bryce Harper in the backside, right below the numbers with the first pitch Hamels threw to the Nationals’ outfielder. Hamels would later admit that the 93-mph fastball he threw at Harper was intentional, telling reporters including the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Matt Gelb, “‘I was trying to hit him. I’m not going to deny it.’” Bryce Harper’s response was swift. The young, often brash and outspoken National bent over at the hips for a moment, then calmly and professionally took his base.
Harper went first-to-third on a Jayson Werth single to left in the next at bat, running on contact and never slowing down until he reached the base and turned to see if Phillies’ left fielder Juan Pierre’s throw into second went awry. What happened next had the entire baseball world talking. With Chad Tracy at the plate, and Hamels ahead 1-2, the Phillies’ left-hander threw over to first uneventfully, chasing the Nats’ right fielder back to the bag, with Harper taking an aggressive lead off third. When Hamels tried a second throw over to first, with a deliberate, slow step and throw the Nats’ rookie outfielder broke from third and stole home ahead of Philly first baseman Laynce Nix’s throw to catcher Carlos Ruiz.
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