Bryce Harper homers in first at-bat back from the disabled list


(Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

It was an almost unreal sequence at Nationals Park on Monday night. In his first at-bat since May 26, after missing 31 games with left knee bursitis, Bryce Harper homered. At 7:16, 11 minutes into the game against the Milwaukee Brewers, Harper smashed a 93-mile per hour fastball from starter Yovani Gallardo into the visitor’s bullpen in left field.

The crowd cheered and applauded when Harper was introduced before the game. Some even stood and removed their hats when he came to the plate in the first inning. And after two pitches from right-handed starter Yovani Gallardo, most of the stadium stood and roared as Harper raced around the bases following his 13th home run of the season.

Even after Harper slapped hands with teammates and entered the dugout, the crowd drew him out for a curtain call. He jumped to the top step, waved and ducked back into the dugout. Harper has always had the flair for the dramatic, a player who could change the course of a game with an at-bat or run or throw, and he added to his lore two pitches into his return.

James Wagner joined the Post in August 2010 and, prior to covering the Nationals, covered high school sports across the region.

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James Wagner · July 1, 2013

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