Nationals Win: Bryce Harper Hits 2 Home Runs On Opening Day

Bryce Harper won the NL Rookie of the Year in 2012 and is off to a great start in 2013.

The Washington Nationals won 2-0 over the Miami Marlins on Opening Day as Bryce Harper’s solo home runs in his first two at-bats of the season were enough to beat the Marlins. Stephen Strasburg was very effective in seven innings of work, giving up no runs on three hits, though he finished with only three strikeouts.

Harper had a great spring, hitting .478 in 67 at-bats before becoming the youngest player in MLB history to hit two home runs on Opening Day. The 20-year-old outfielder lined a Ricky Nolasco breaking ball over the right field wall in the first inning and hit another to right in the fourth, which was good enough for a curtain call and a 2-0 lead that never changed.

Tyler Clippard came in the game in relief of Strasburg in the 8th inning and pitched a scoreless inning before Rafael Soriano closed out the Marlins in the ninth. Soriano had 42 saves with the New York Yankees last season as Mariano Rivera was injured and struck out two in his first appearance with the Nationals Monday for his first save.

The Marlins traded away a majority of their best players over the offseason including Jose Reyes, and aren’t expected to contend in the National League. The Marlins struggled against Strasburg, who retired 19 in a row at one point and failed to walk a single batter in his 2013 debut.

Harper won the NL Rookie of the Year last season, and is as hot as anyone in baseball coming out of spring training and proved it Monday. The Nationals had the best record in baseball in 2012 and have the rotation and talent to run away with the NL East again.

A record crowd of 45,274 attended Opening Day at Nationals Park and were on their feet for most of the game, though Harper’s two homers were the only big moments. In the big picture, Strasburg tied his career-high with seven innings pitched of scoreless baseball and shouldn’t be placed on an innings limit this season.

The Marlins and Nationals have Tuesday off before the second game of a three-game series Wednesday night in Washington, D.C., as the Marlins look to get their offense going. Ricky Nolasco pitched well enough for a win, but didn’t get the run support he needed as Strasburg shutdown the Marlins. The Nationals win 2-0 and Bryce Harper goes deep twice in his first Opening Day as Major League Baseball’s regular season has finally arrived.