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 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.
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.