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Harper finds he can't be the hero every tiime

June 07, 2011|By BOB PARASILITI | bobp@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — Hitting home runs is a hit-or-miss proposition.

Bryce Harper found that out first-hand on Monday. The Hagerstown right fielder hit one and missed one when they both counted most in the Suns’ 3-2 loss to Greensboro.

The sixth-inning homer Harper hit spoke for itself. But the Washington Nationals top prospect had a description for the one he barely missed in the eighth inning.

“It sucks,” he said.

Harper was back in the lineup a day after being hit by a pitch on the inside part of his left knee in he first inning on Sunday. He left the game limping, but walked off the field under his own power.

“The knee feels good,” he said. “I got banged up a bit yesterday, but I came in early today and got treatment and it feels great.”

Harper hit a one-out solo shot in the sixth to break a scoreless tie and start a two-run rally for the Suns. It also started bit of a drama.

That started in the first inning when Greensboro starter Zach Neal struck out Harper on a borderline call he didn’t care for to end the first inning.

“It never feels good to strike out,” Harper said. “You had a good guy out there from OU (Oklahoma). You don’t get many pitches that you can try to drive.”

Harper exacted his first step of revenge in the fourth when he grounded a single off of Neal’s foot in the fourth inning.

The rubber match came in the sixth. Harper stroked a 1-0 pitch over the wall in right-center field and took a little time to watch it clear the fence. There was some added interaction between Harper and Neal as he crossed the plate, causing Greensboro manager Andy Haines to come out of the dugout to protest.

The homer was Harper’s 14th of the season, tying him with Augusta’s Andrew Duvall for the South Atlantic League lead.

The Suns’ 2-0 lead was short-lived as Greensboro’s Wilfredo Giminez trumped it with a three-run homer in the seventh off Shane McCatty to give the Grasshoppers all the runs they needed to tie the crucial three-game series between the teams, which will help decide the Northern Division’s first-half title.

Still, Harper had one more say for the Suns.

He came to the plate to face reliever Grant Dayton with one out in the eighth. Dayton’s first pitch was high and tight, backing Harper off the plate.

Harper connected on the next pitch, hitting a high drive to right that looked out when it left the bat, but Marcell Ozuna camped under the ball and caught it with his heels near the base of the fence for what became a long second out.

“I just missed it by an inch,” Harper said. “It was a curve up and I just missed it. I thought it was out. It sucks. I get it out and it ties the game up and gives us a chance to go extra innings.”

The one Harper hit felt great, but he really wanted the one he missed.

“That’s the game of baseball,” he said. “The ball didn’t roll our way today.”

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