Bryce Harper again the top dog as Nationals beat Mets

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Sports,MLB,Nationals

Outfielder hits two HRs in victory

NEW YORK -- Bryce Harper launched two long home runs, including a tiebreaking drive in the eighth inning, and also doubled to lead the Washington Nationals over the New York Mets 7-6 on Saturday.

Adam LaRoche and Ian Desmond homered for the Nats on Bark in the Park day at Citi Field. Fans paid $35 for tickets in the second deck in right field and brought their dogs for $10.

After the game, Nats manager Davey Johnson said third baseman Ryan Zimmerman was being placed on the 15-day disabled list because of persistent tightness in his left hamstring. Zimmerman had an MRI earlier in the day.

Harper, who has a young chocolate Labrador retriever named Swag, hit a two-run homer to right-center in the third. He then hit the first pitch from Josh Edgin (0-1) in the eighth even farther and harder to right-center for his seventh home run.

The 20-year-old All-Star has four multihomer games in not quite a full year in the majors. Harper walked in his other plate appearance and is hitting .371 this season.

Washington finished with seven hits, all for extra-base hits.

Nats outfielder Jayson Werth petted a couple of Labrador retrievers and teammate Danny Espinosa greeted a dachshund as about 500 dogs paraded around the warning track before the game. Werth and Espinosa later doubled.

The Mets didn't homer for the first time in eight home games this year. They do, however, have a history that links homers and dogs: Before the bigheaded Mr. Met, their first mascot was a beagle named Homer.

In 1962, Homer was supposed to run around the bases at the Polo Grounds after the Mets connected. The first time he tried to do it in a game, the story goes, he reached second base and took off on a sprint for center field.

LaRoche hit a three-run homer in the fifth that put Washington ahead 6-5. The Mets tied it in the seventh when Daniel Murphy hustled for an infield hit and scored on John Buck's two-out double, helped when Desmond bobbled the relay at shortstop.

Tyler Clippard (1-0) got four outs for the win, and Rafael Soriano closed for his sixth save.

Nats starter Gio Gonzalez gave up five runs in the fourth with two outs. He looked uncomfortable, crouching on the mound before giving up two-run singles to Collin Cowgill and Justin Turner and an RBI single to Murphy.

Craig Stammen relieved Gonzalez and struck out five in two perfect innings.

Desmond homered leading off the second against Jeremy Hefner. Harper homered the next inning and doubled in front of LaRoche's two-out home run.

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