Michael Morse does a bit of mime work

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Nationals slugger Michael Morse hit a grand slam in the top of the first inning Saturday against the Cardinals’ Kyle Lohse. But the ball barely cleared the right field wall at Busch Stadium and was initially ruled a base hit, which caused some confusion on the basepaths. Thus, we get probably the best highlight since replay for home runs was instituted:

There’s nothing in the rule book that requires that sort of thing, but the umpires wanted to be sure that all of the bases were touched and that no one was lapped. And Morse was apparently asked to mimic a swing to start the runners. It seemed to draw laughter, then boos, from the sold-out crowd in St. Louis.

The Nats defeated the Cards in 10 innings by a score of 6-4 to earn their 96th win of the season.

Phillies owner John Middleton is in Las Vegas with Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper
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Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Phillies owner John Middleton flew to Las Vegas for a meeting with Bryce Harper on Friday. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, it’s “more of a meet-and-greet than a sign-a-deal” affair, but as the club is still at the forefront of trade rumors involving the All-Star slugger, there remains a possibility (however slight) that something could be completed in the days to come.

Even now, the Phillies aren’t alone in the race to sign Harper, but recent rumors have helped whittle down the competition from five or more teams (Phillies, Nationals, White Sox, Giants, and Padres) to three strong contenders. The Giants are said to be interested in a lucrative short-term deal with the outfielder, while the Padres remain in the conversation despite inking Manny Machado to a mammoth 10-year, $300 million contract this week. It’s not yet clear just how far either team would go to outbid Philadelphia as talks with Harper intensify.

As for the Nationals and White Sox, the former officially bowed out earlier today, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman adds that the latter won’t make a strong play for Harper as they feel the asking price and competing offers are “getting too high” for the 26-year-old’s services. If a mystery team is still in the mix, there’s been no word on their standing with Harper in the last month or so.