Bryce Harper entered the record books Tuesday night with his 17th homerun of the season. At his next at bat, the Washington Nationals 20-year-old star hitter was hit by a pitch, clearing the benches of both teams and launching a Twitter war between the franchises.
Harper's third inning homerun, the 37th of his career, put him ahead of baseball great Ken Griffey Jr. and into third place on the list of players who hit the most homeruns before their 21st birthday, Fox Sports reported
Harper trotted around the bases at what some considered a slow rate, taking him 23.66-second to round the bases, according to TaterTrotTracker.com
, which noted that it was the slowest homerun trot of Harper's career.
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The next time Harper went up to the plate, Atlanta Brave pitcher Julio Teheran hit Harper with a fastball to his right thigh.
While walking to first base, Harper responded with some choice words at Teheran, who proceeded to walk off the mound towards Harper, leading to a clearing of both benches and the Washington Nationals dugout jogging toward the infield in case a fight broke out.
There was no fight, and after the game, both players weighed in to the apparently intentional hit by Teheran.
"It’s part of the game and it’s something I guess he’s got to do," Harper told reporters following the game, believing the pitch was intentionally thrown at him for the homerun he hit the last time he was up, the Washington Post reported. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/nationals-journal/wp/2013/08/06/benches-clear-after-bryce-harper-hit-by-pitch-in-nationals-braves-game/)
When asked if he was surprised that Teheran hit him, Harper responded "I hit that ball pretty far off him, so no, not really."
Teheran, on the other hand, said he was "surprised" by Harper’s reaction.
"I didn’t know. I was just trying to get in there. I don’t want to make a mistake like I did with the homer. That’s how I hit him," Teheran told reporters. "I get upset because I don’t want to hit him. When he say that to me, that’s when I start walking."
Braves Manager Fredi Gonzalez also weighed in to the issue, saying that he didn’t believe his pitcher intentionally hit Harper.
"He was just trying to throw a fastball in and he held onto it a little bit and got him in the thigh," Gonzalez said. "And then boys being boys. I think Joe West did a nice job, and just giving everybody warnings and everybody settled down and everybody went back to playing baseball."
While the feud between the players appeared to end on the field, a Twitter war between the franchises quickly ensued, apparently initiated by a Tuesday night tweet by former Braves third basemen, Chipper Jones.
Jones' tweet was later accompanied by a tweet from the Braves official Twitter page.
The Nationals official Twitter page then responded with a tweet of their own.
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