WASHINGTON -- Call it the Big Bang Theory. Everybody knew Bryce Harper's home run drought wouldn't last much longer, and it ended with quite a bang during Thursday's 2-1 victory over the Cardinals.
In the sixth inning, the Nationals trailed, 1-0, when Harper crushed a 1-1 breaking ball from St. Louis right-hander Mike Leake for a monster home run off the upper deck façade in right field to tie the score at 1. The ball was projected by Statcast™ to travel 434 feet from home plate -- Harper's longest homer of the season -- and left his bat at 107.5 mph. The Nationals went ahead to stay an inning later on a home run by Danny Espinosa.
Harper had not gone deep in his previous 11 games, dating back to May 13. He now has 12 home runs this season, but perhaps none so spectacular as this one.
"I got a pitch I could handle, and did some damage with it," Harper said. "Just happy we came out with that W. 'Espi' being able to come up and do the same thing, and [we] get that W, that's what we want."
Harper ended up going 1-for-4 with two strikeouts in the game. He is 5-for-35 over his past 12 games, but he doesn't seem to be missing by much.
"He fouled off a couple pitches, and that's been the problem," manager Dusty Baker said. "When he gets his pitch, he's been fouling it back -- straight back, which shows you that he's on the ball. He's just not on the center part of the ball.
"Most of the time when you foul the ball back, you're underneath the ball and there's not much difference between fouling the ball back and hitting it fair on the field. Just probably a millimeter difference between hitting a line drive and popping it up and fouling it back. So I'm hoping that that gets him going."
Whenever he gets going at the plate again, Harper will not be wearing batting gloves. He decided to cut them up and threw them in the dumpster.
"It's just so people don't sell them on eBay, to tell you the truth," Harper said. "I always cut the batting gloves up, and they're ripped on the top of the hand, and I had the bat boy come in and give me another pair, and I put them on and ripped them again. I guess the baseball gods don't want me to wear the batting gloves right now.
"I went up and hit a homer and came back and cut 'em up just so guys don't come out of the trash can and grab 'em and sell 'em. It's happened before, so cut 'em up now."
Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for MLB.com since 2002 and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.