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Rookie Phenom Harper Beats Mets In Extras

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WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 05:  Michael Morse #38 of the Washington Nationals dumps gatorade on Bryce Harper #34 after he hit the game winning RBI single in the twelfth inning against the New York Mets at Nationals Park on June 5, 2012 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 05: Michael Morse #38 of the Washington Nationals dumps gatorade on Bryce Harper #34 after he hit the game winning RBI single in the twelfth inning against the New York Mets at Nationals Park on June 5, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ You might think 19-year-old Bryce Harper would
savor the moment after his first game-winning hit with two outs to
give his team an extra-inning win.

Instead, after lifting the Washington Nationals to a 7-6 win
against the New York Mets in 12 innings Tuesday night, Harper was
upset with his line in the box score.

“I’m happy to get the W, of course. I’m happy to get that
walk-off hit, but I don’t like going 2 for 7,” Harper said. “I
don’t like striking out twice in one game, either.”

He then said the game-winner would mitigate his disappointment.

“To get that moment at the end, that wipes everything away,”
Harper said.

Harper’s single ended a back-and-forth game that saw the Mets
rally from a 3-0 early deficit to take leads in the top of the
eighth, 10th and 12th innings _ only to have the Nationals tie the
game in the bottom of the frame each time.

Scott Hairston hit a solo homer in the top of the 12th to give
New York a 6-5 lead, but the Nationals rallied when Michael Morse
led off with his second double of the game. Ian Desmond followed
with another double for his third RBI.

Reliever Elvin Ramirez (0-1) walked two batters to load the
bases, and a fielder’s choice by Xavier Nady left the bases loaded
with two outs for Harper, who lined an 0-2 pitch to left field. The
ball fell just in front of a diving Vinny Rottino.

“He’s a man-child,” Morse said of Harper. “This guy’s
unbelievable. He’s really learning this game. Every day, I think
he’s taking something in. … When he plays like he plays, it’s fun
to watch and it’s good to have him on our side.”

The Nationals are alone atop the National League East, a game
ahead of Miami _ which lost to Atlanta _ and 11/2 games ahead of the
Mets.

Both managers emptied their bullpens as the game wore on.
Ramirez, the Mets’ sixth pitcher, was making his second major
league appearance. Ross Detwiler (4-3) pitched the final two
innings as the Nationals’ eighth.

“It would have been very easy for this team, for the hitters,
to just say, `OK, we’ll just go get them tomorrow,”’ Detwiler
said. “But we weathered the storm, we came back out there and
fought.”

Hairston also gave the Mets the lead in the 10th when he led off
with a single and later scored on a wild pitch by Henry Rodriguez _
Rodriguez’s ninth in 21 innings this season. The Nationals tied it
in the bottom of the inning, thanks to two errors by shortstop
Jordany Valdespin _ including a grounder by Desmond that bounced
off his glove, allowing Ryan Zimmerman to score _ and a wild pitch
by Bobby Parnell.

The Mets fell behind 3-0 after five innings and started their
comeback with solo home runs by David Wright and Valdespin in the
sixth. Andres Torres hit a two-run double in the eighth to give New
York a 4-3 lead.

Desmond tied the game at 4 with a run-scoring single in the
eighth to set up extra innings.

Valdespin led off the sixth with a pinch-hit home run into the
Nationals’ bullpen in right field. It was the rookie’s second
pinch-hit homer this season. Wright added another solo homer with
two outs, barely clearing the wall in left-center field. It was
Wright’s 736th career run scored, setting a Mets franchise record.

“The toughest part is the way we fought back,” Mets manager
Terry Collins said. “You’re down three. We fight back. We get the
lead. We lose the lead, get the lead, lose the lead, we get the
lead and then we lose the game. That’s very tough. The guys played
very well.”

According to the Nationals, Harper is the first teenager to have
a game-ending hit since Gary Sheffield did it for the Brewers on
Sept. 9, 1988.

“I don’t think of him as a 19-year-old kid, but that’s exactly
what he is,” Detwiler said. “He’s going to be around for a long
time, so it’s awesome to see him learn and really grow as a player
right now. You know he’s going to be in the same position he’s in
now in 10, 15 years. It’s pretty cool to see the beginning of it.”

NOTES: New York RHP Jon Rauch has “debris” in his right elbow,
according to manager Terry Collins. He’ll miss the three games in
Washington, but will be available for Friday’s game against the
Yankees, Collins said. … The Mets activated RHP Miguel Batista
(lower back strain) from the 15-day DL and placed RHP Ramon Ramirez
(strained right hamstring) on the 15-day DL. Ramirez injured the
hamstring running in from the bullpen to join in the celebration of
Johan Santana’s no-hitter on Friday, Collins said. The Mets also
designated right-handed pitcher Jack Egbert for assignment. …
Washington RHP Brad Lidge (sports hernia) made his first rehab
appearance for Class A Potomac Monday and expects to have two more
on Wednesday and Friday.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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