Nats slugger crosses plate 4 times Sunday, pushing total to 32 for the month
By Oliver Macklin
WASHINGTON -- Bryce Harper's torrid first month of the season has ended in record-breaking fashion.
The Nationals' right fielder scored four times in Sunday's 23-5 victory over the Mets, increasing his number of runs scored through in April to 32 and surpassing the Major League record of 29 set by Larry Walker in 1997.
Harper's third run came on a fifth-inning bases-clearing double by Anthony Rendon, who drove in 10 runs on the day. Harper added a solo home run in the eighth off Mets catcher Kevin Plawecki, who came in to pitch during Washington's five-run seventh.
"That was a Major League record?" Nationals manager Dusty Baker asked. "Well, he was on base enough."
The 2015 National League MVP, Harper leads all players in on-base percentage (.510) and times reaching base (58). During his MVP season, Harper tallied a .440 OBP and had reached base 44 times when the calendar flipped to May. He never touched first more than 56 times in any month that year.
"That's probably more important than mine," Rendon said of helping Harper achieve the feat. "Obviously, you want to help the guys because it's a team game in the end. It's not like tennis, it's not golf. There's nine guys out there on the field. For all of us to come together, that's what it's going to take for us to win. That's more important."
Harper not only got on base as much as any player in baseball through the season's first month, he was surrounded by the Majors' most potent offense. The Nationals have scored 170 runs through the season's first month, the most in MLB and the 10th most for any team since at least 1913.
"You've got a guy as hot as [Ryan Zimmerman] has been, he's driving in Bryce a lot," Baker said. "Then you've got [Daniel Murphy] after him who's also driving in Zim or Harper. It was nice to see Anthony get going today, we just have to build on it. We've got a long way to go and hopefully a lot more runs to score."
Oliver Macklin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.