Now Commenting On:

Harper logs first HR by lefty vs. Kershaw in '14

Harper logs first HR by lefty vs. Kershaw in '14 play video for Harper logs first HR by lefty vs. Kershaw in '14

LOS ANGELES -- Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper was the only bright spot in a 4-1 loss to left-hander Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers.

The Nationals never made any serious threat against the left-hander until Harper went deep in the seventh, the first homer and RBI recorded by a left-handed batter against Kershaw this season. It snapped a string of 12 consecutive batters retired and 17 of 18.

"Oh, man. He is the best pitcher in baseball, hands down" said Harper, who went 1-for-4 in the game. "He goes out there and locates his pitches. He has his fastball, curveball, changeup and slider. He is very, very good. He is definitely the best pitcher in baseball."

Entering the game, Kershaw had held lefties to a .173 average (19-for-110). The last left-handed hitter to homer off him was Reds slugger Jay Bruce, who did it twice on Sept. 8, 2013.

Harper didn't seem all that pleased he was able to go yard against the best pitcher in baseball.

"In my first AB, I thought I had a great at-bat. He challenged me with some heaters," Harper said. "The second at-bat, he made me look pretty dumb on the curveball. It was the best pitch I ever saw in my whole life. In the next AB, I was trying for something in the zone. I tried to swing as hard as I could to make something happen. It was nice to get that off him, but we still lost the ballgame."

To manager Matt Williams, Harper is getting stronger after missing two months with a broken left thumb.

"His hand is coming back to him," Williams said. "His bat speed is much better. He doesn't have to generate with his lower half. He got good bat speed and he got a good pitch to hit and delivered it."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español