Harper, Strickland trade punches as Nationals beat Giants 3-0

Washington Nationals Daniel Murphy tries to restrain the pair during the eighth inning

Bryce Harper and Hunter Strickland had not faced each other in over two years since Harper hit two home runs off Strickland in the 2014 National League Division Series.

Enraged, the Washington slugger charged the mound, fired his helmet and traded punches to the head with reliever Hunter Strickland, setting off a wild brawl Monday during the Nationals' 3-0 win over the San Francisco Giants.

He displayed that competitive spirit again on Monday as his brawl with San Francisco Giants pitcher Hunter Strickland led to the benches clearing. "After it happened I saw Harper point and the next thing you know he's going out after him and there are some big guys tumbling around on the ground", Posey said.

Strickland said he did not expect Harper to charge the mound, but once he did, "It's go time". Strickland had hit Harper when there were two outs and nobody on base.

Almost three years ago, in the NLDS, Bryce Harper and Hunter Strickland met for the first time.

It took teammates Mac Williamson, Hunter Pence and George Kontos to drag the agitated Strickland off the field. The Giants had a golden opportunity to run their winning streak to three but the offense never got going in the series opening loss to visiting Washington. "He's not a punching bag", Baker said. After the game, he would not say he expected something like this to happen - just that some people hold history "in a higher regard than others". 'I'm OK, but why is that news?' Morse said. The version of that action this time was the Giants' Buster Posey not doing the standard catcher thing of jumping in front of the hitter after a plunking, but rather standing idly and allowing Harper a free pass to reach Strickland. You don't want to make a mistake there.

Harper said he didn't intend to fight anyone, especially over something that was "so in the past that it's not even relevant anymore". It's smart, but I think something else was at play here today. He should be thinking about wearing that ring home every single night. Washington logged eight hits and walked once with Ryan Zimmerman clubbing his 14th homer and scoring twice while Daniel Murphy went 2-4 and knocked in two runs.

'But it looks bad.

"You know, what I think got lost in all this is I thought Moore pitched a nice ballgame against a tough lineup", Bochy said.

Nationals closer Koda Glover worked a 1-2-3 ninth, striking out two, for his sixth save.

METS 4, BREWERS 2 Rookie Robert Gsellman pitched seven innings of three-hit ball and had two RBI to lead NY past visiting Milwaukee.

The Nationals were leading the Giants 2-0 at the time of the hit-by-pitch.

LHP Gio Gonzalez (3-1, 2.90 ERA) is 4-4 with a 2.94 ERA in 11 starts against the Giants.

At least Bryce Harper now will likely have a few games off due to suspension to really nail that move the next time he needs to take a pitcher out.

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