Bryce Harper and his “ferocious brand of baserunning”

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Last night’s benches-clearing scuffle between the Nationals and Cubs got all the headlines, but before things got ugly when Bryce Harper was nearly hit by a pitch in the sixth inning the 19-year-old rookie showed once again that he’s perhaps MLB’s most aggressive baserunner.

Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post did a great job describing Harper’s pre-scuffle work on the bases, which included stretching a double into a triple followed by this:

Ryan Zimmerman followed and tapped a dribbler to the left of the mound, which [Justin] Germano fielded. Just off third base, Harper froze as Germano looked him back. Germano, satisfied Harper would behave like the other 99 percent of major league baserunners, turned his back and threw to first.

Harper did not behave like other major league baserunners. He did not take two quiet steps back to third base. He ran like the fastest kid in Little League, the one who runs until he is tagged out and makes other parents want to look at his birth certificate. He ran like someone dared him to. Harper darted, hell-bent for home.

Harper was safe, tying the game at 1-1. And the Nationals spent the rest of the night making the Cubs look and act like they were the Little Leaguers.

Tyson Ross loses no-hitter with two outs in the eighth inning

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UPDATE, 11:58 PM ET: Ross lost the no-hit bid with one out remaining in the eighth inning. Christian Walker worked a 2-0 count against the right-hander, the doubled to center field to break up the bid and score Deven Marrero. The Padres are tied 1-1 in the bottom of the eighth.

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Padres right-hander Tyson Ross has pitched 7 1/3 innings of no-hit ball against the Diamondbacks in Friday’s game. He’s expended 124 pitches so far, the only blemish on his pitching line a handful of walks to Jarrod Dyson, Paul Goldschmidt and Nick Ahmed in the first, seventh and eighth innings, respectively.

Through just over seven innings, Ross whiffed 10 of 25 batters. He’s working with just one run of support: a mammoth 489-foot solo home run from Franchy Cordero in the third.

Should Ross complete the no-no, he’ll be the first pitcher to do so in the club’s 49-year history. The last major-league pitcher to record a no-hitter was Marlins right-hander Edinson Volquez, who held the Diamondbacks hitless last June.

We’ll keep you updated as the game progresses.