SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — An enraged Bryce Harper charged the mound, fired his helmet and traded punches to the head with San Francisco reliever Hunter Strickland after getting hit by a fastball, setting off a wild brawl Monday during the Washington Nationals’ 3-0 win over the Giants.
Drilled in the right hip by a 98 mph heater on Strickland’s first pitch in the eighth inning with two outs, none on and Washington ahead 2-0, Harper didn’t hesitate. The slugger pointed his bat at Strickland, yelled at him and took off.
No one got in Harper’s way as he rushed the mound. His eyes were wide as he flung his helmet — it sailed way wide of Strickland, it might’ve slipped — and they started swinging away. The 6-foot-4 Strickland hit Harper in the face, then they broke apart for a moment before squaring off again. Harper punched Strickland in the head as the benches and bullpen emptied.
Giants teammates Michael Morse and Jeff Samardzija collided hard as they tried to get between the two fighters. Three Giants players forcefully dragged Strickland from the middle of the pack all the way into the dugout, while a teammate held back Harper.
Harper and Strickland were both ejected. They have some history between them — in the 2014 NL Division Series, Harper hit two home runs off Strickland, and the All-Star outfielder glared at the reliever as he rounded the bases after the second shot in Game 4.
Tanner Roark (5-2) struck out six and allowed six hits in seven innings. The NL East leaders opened a nine-game West Coast trip with their sixth win in eight games.
Koda Glover pitched a scoreless ninth to notch his sixth save in seven tries.
Ryan Zimmerman hit his 14th homer, off Matt Moore (2-6) in the second.
Daniel Murphy hit an RBI double in his first game after missing three games due to illness.