Bryce Harper reached base seven times Sunday without getting an official at-bat. In fact, the Washington Nationals slugger never even took a swing at a pitch.
It made for a frustrating day in Chicago for the reigning National League MVP, even if he did set a major league record. The Cubs beat Washington, 4-3 in 13 innings to complete a four-game sweep.
“They had a plan,” Harper said after a game in which he walked six times and was hit by a pitch. “They had a plan and unfortunately it worked.”
At one point, he and Cubs catcher David Ross were joking around about the situation as all four pitches to Harper went wide left.
Harper saw 27 pitches, and only two were strikes. He was intentionally walked three times, even with runners on first and second during the 10th and 12th innings. Both of those times the strategy paid off for the Cubs, as cleanup batter Ryan Zimmerman followed Harper by lining out in the 10th and grounding out in the 12th.
Zimmerman went one for seven, driving in Harper with a double in the third inning but stranding 14 men overall.
Harper went one for four with 13 walks during the series.
“I know that he’s not as hot as he can be coming into this series, but you don’t want to get him hot,” Cubs Manager Joe Maddon said. “I’ve been part of that in the past. We did what we thought we had to do today, and it happened to work. So good for our guys.”