Basebrawl! Harper, Strickland punch away, Nats-Giants fight

Basebrawl! Harper, Strickland punch away, Nats-Giants fight

Bryce Harper and Hunter Strickland, antagonists in the 2014 playoffs, were at the center of an ugly brawl in the eighth inning of the Washington Nationals-San Francisco Giants game Monday.

Harper and Strickland were both ejected.

From these clips, it wouldn't take a rocket scientist to arrive at the conclusion that Strickland was none-too-pleased with Harper's showboating, or the home runs, as he is in fact a pitcher. On the way, Harper threw his helmet at Strickland.

Asked about his decision to charge the mound and throw punches, Harper said he had two choices, and he chose to go to the mound.

Their punches did not, and as both benches collapsed toward the center of the field in a frenzy that left Giants veteran Michael Morse on the ground after colliding with his own teammate, Strickland would not stop.

It took teammates Mac Williamson, Hunter Pence and George Kontos to drag the agitated Strickland off the field.

As we continue to dissect the Nationals-Giants brawl, let's dive into the Bryce Harper helmet toss!

And so when Strickland's first pitch - a 98-mph fastball - struck Harper square on the right hip, the Nats right fielder had a split-second to decide how to react.

Harper risked injury in the fight, and as of the end of the game, the Nationals had not given word on whether he sustained any.

The Nationals went on to win the game, 3-0, and Baker said it was important that his team stayed focused and took the series opener.

And so Harper chose to throw a punch and prompt the biggest bench-clearing brawl in club history, one ignited by the memory of what happened three Octobers ago. A pitching staff that's put together a 2.95 ERA at AT&T Park versus a starting rotation that held a 2.27 ERA over the last 47 innings.

"That's the thing about it: Because one guy wants to take a shot at a guy, you put 50 guys at risk", Nationals catcher Matt Wieters said.

"Completely uncalled for", said Daniel Murphy, who joined the Nationals in 2016. The Nationals entered Monday as the only team in baseball with three players in the top 14 in batting, those three. Zimmerman hit 15 homers last season.

Murphy hit an RBI double in his first game after missing three games due to illness.

"When somebody comes at you like that and throws a 98 miles per hour fastball where he did, I wasn't very happy with it and took it into my hands", he said. Most would argue he contributed enough for one day.

"That's probably the first time that I was certain that somebody was going to try and throw at me", Harper told reporters. The setup role, then, is the next to be settled.

Nationals closer Koda Glover worked a 1-2-3 ninth, striking out two, for his sixth save. You never want to get suspended or anything like that, but sometimes you just have to go get 'em.