Bryce Harper flung his helmet in the air before he reached home plate, where his teammates were waiting to mob him after his two-run walk-off home run in the 13th inning Thursday at Nationals Park.
Harper’s opposite-field blast, which came seconds after the Mets’ announcers on SNY debated whether he should be bunting, killed the narrative — if it wasn’t dead already — that Matt Williams and the Nationals would even consider sending him to the minors.
We can put another narrative to rest, too. After emerging from the initial chaos at home plate, Harper retreated toward third base, his jubilant teammates in pursuit. Denard Span, the player Harper not-so-subtly suggested should be the odd man out in a (hypothetically) healthy Nationals lineup, was the first teammate to reach him. #Spanning, indeed.
Span grabbed Harper’s jersey and spun him toward the mound, where the two outfielders shared a high-five and some hugs. There’s no rift here.
“It’s huge, man,” Span said after the game. “We need to get him going. When he’s hitting, it makes us 10 times more dangerous. It makes the lineup obviously deeper. Hopefully he takes that and builds off of it and keeps it going this road trip.”
Span, who had another four hits Thursday and has reached based in 33 consecutive games, has hit .387 (48 for 127) since Harper’s comments on June 30, raising his average from .265 to .300.