"It just shows you how much of a competitor he is," Scherzer said. "His leg's all bruised up, his hammy's tight and he's out there competing, battling through injury. ... When I see somebody else going out there and competing like that, obviously hitting a home run, it just motivates you to keep competing as hard as you can."
Harper has hit no matter who he's faced and who is pitching for the Nationals, but this season, he is hitting home runs at an excessive rate in Scherzer's starts. Saturday's fourth-inning solo blast was his 10th home run and produced his 13th RBI off home runs alone in Scherzer's 14 starts.
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"Going out there and seeing a guy pitch like that every single day, seeing a guy going every single start wanting to win, things like that," Harper said. "It just gets you locked in even more. I just put some good swings on some balls and been able to get a lot done. I told him, 'You keep pitching like that, I'll keep hitting homers.' That [four-run] sixth inning we had got him a little break. Got him a little breathing room."
It was Harper's 23rd homer of the season, a new career high, and he finished the day 2-for-4. In the sixth inning, Harper knocked an RBI single off Pirates starter Francisco Liriano to drive in Anthony Rendon.
Harper and manager Matt Williams don't expect the strained hamstring to keep Harper out of the lineup going forward.
"I felt all right. I was in the lineup," Harper said. "That's what I wanted to do. This team needs me and I'm gonna cowboy up every single day I can play, and if I can't go that day then I'll let them know."
Jacob Emert is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.