For the first time in weeks, Marlins Park hosted a right fielder who ranks among the elite power hitters in baseball.
Unfortunately for Marlins fans, it wasn’t Giancarlo Stanton, who remains sidelined with a broken hand.
It was Washington’s Bryce Harper, who blasted two upper-deck home runs — including a three-run, tie-breaking shot — to lead the Nationals to a 7-2 win over the Marlins on Wednesday night.
Harper, who had four RBI, has 29 homers this season.
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“He’s got such a forceful, violent swing,” Marlins manager Dan Jennings said of Harper. “He’s now learning to control that even more.
“The hand-eye coordination that he has … I remember when he first came up, a lot of people compared him to a young Mickey Mantle — that type of thunder. [Harper] is a special hitter. He’s got great power.”
The game-winning shot was Harper’s fourth homer this season off Marlins right-hander Tom Koehler. Three of those four homers were hit to the upper deck in right field, including the one on Wednesday.
Harper, who entered the game leading the majors in slugging percentage and OPS, has reached base in 44 straight road games, the longest streak in the big leagues this season.
Koehler (8-7), who allowed five runs in six innings, struck out Harper in the first inning on a 3-2 pitch, a 94 mph fastball. That helped Koehler escape a two-one, one-out jam.
But Harper got Koehler back in the fifth inning, snapping a 2-2 tie by hitting a 1-2 pitch — a high, 93 mph fastball.
“It was the first time in a while that Tommy has struggled with command,” Jennings said. “He was still able to get through six innings, but he got two strikes on Harper and really just missed down the middle.
“[Harper] is a good hitter. You make mistakes like that, and he is going to make you pay. The location of that pitch was not good.”
Koehler, who allowed the most runs he has in any home start this season, said Harper simply “did what he has been doing all year.”
Still, Wednesday night wasn’t as bad for Koehler as May 6, when Harper hit three homers in three consecutive at-bats off of him in a 7-5 Nationals win at Washington.
Harper’s second homer Wednesday was hit off of reliever Sam Dyson. That snapped a scoreless streak of eight games (18 1/3 innings) by the Marlins bullpen.
Miami opened the scoring with a run in the second inning. With two outs, left fielder Derek Dietrich was hit by a pitch. He scored from first on an opposite-field double by right fielder Ichiro Suzuki, who got career hit No. 2,900.
Suzuki became just the eighth player in major-league history to reach 2,900 hits and 500 steals, joining Ty Cobb, Rickey Henderson, Lou Brock, Barry Bonds, Honus Wagner, Paul Molitor and Eddie Collins.
Washington took a 2-1 lead in the fourth when Harper, whose opposite field pop-up fell for a hit in shallow left field, scored from first on shortstop Ian Desmond’s line-drive triple to right. Desmond then scored on a sacrifice fly by Michael Taylor.
Miami tied the score in the fourth when first baseman Justin Bour drew a leadoff walk and came around to score on shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria’s two-out single.
▪ Thursday: Marlins RHP Dan Haren (7-6, 3.51) vs. Nationals RHP Max Scherzer (10-8, 2.33), 12:10 p.m., Marlins Park.