For a kid who's still only 20 and had yet to hit a game-ending homer in his nascent career, Bryce Harper sure inspired a lot of confidence in his teammates as he walked to the plate with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.
''You could feel it. You could just feel it in the dugout,'' reliever Ian Krol said. ''You know something special's going to happen when you put him in that kind of situation.''
The score was tied, a man was on base, and Harper was hoping to do something to avert what could have become a devastating defeat for the Washington Nationals. They already blew a substantial lead Thursday against the Pittsburgh Pirates. And as it is, the Nationals were 0-6 since the All-Star break to fall way below .500 and way behind in the NL East.
Precisely as Krol and other Nationals anticipated, Harper delivered. Right in the middle of it all from the very start to the finish, the 2012 NL Rookie of the Year hit a two-run shot over the wall to the left of straightaway center, lift...