What's Buzzing:

Big League Stew

Bryce Harper hits first career walkoff homer

Big League Stew

His team desperate for any kind of good news, Bryce Harper came through with the first walk-off home run of his major league career Thursday afternoon. Not only did Harper rescue the Washington Nationals from what would have been an embarrassing and costly loss against a possible rival for a playoff spot, but he gave the Nats their first win of any kind since the All-Star break.

So, it was a big deal. And moments before Harper connected in the bottom of the ninth to give Washington a 9-7 victory against the Pittsburgh Pirates, a psychic feeling came over one of his teammates. Via the Associated Press:

''You could feel it. You could just feel it in the dugout,'' reliever Ian Krol said. ''You know something special's going to happen when you put him in that kind of situation.''

Harper still inspires that kind of confidence, even though he had been stuck in a home-run drought for the past 19 games, and banged up ever since running into the outfield fence at Dodger Stadium in May:

''Great to get the 'W' today. We really needed it,'' said Harper, who sat out Wednesday because of the bothersome left knee that put him on the disabled list until July 1, the last time he homered. ''Hopefully this one will carry on into tomorrow and the next day.''

View photo

.

(Getty)

All of the things that Harper has accomplished at 20 years old, and a game-ending home run wasn't one of them until he went deep to center against Bryan Morris. It figures to be the first of many walkoff drives for Harper. He's going to be fine. But what about the Nats, who are 49-53 and eight games behind the Braves in the NL East? They're even further behind, with more teams to jump over, in the wild card race.

Washington leading the league with 98 victories seems longer than just a season ago. Even after jumping to leads of 4-0 and 7-3 against the Bucs, the Nats weren't safe with closer Rafael Soriano on the mound in the top of the ninth. The Pirates rallied against him — and Krol, after interim manager Randy Knorr made a pitching change. Josh Harrison hit a tying two-run single against Krol, who stopped the rally there to set the stage for Harper.

Harper's heroics might be able to get the team in the right frame of mind after an 0-6 start to the second half, but Washington's problems have gone beyond the mental. Harper might have to hit a ton of clutch home runs.

Looking for more baseball chatter?
Follow @bigleaguestew, @Townie813, @AnswerDave and @MikeOz on Twitter
Also, check out the BLS Facebook Page

Related coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
Alfonso Soriano traded back to Yankees
Ryan Braun merchandise sales on the rise since suspension
Reds snap Dodgers' six-game winning streak
Rangers in no hurry to call upon Manny Ramirez

View Comments (10)
  • Yanks' Sabathia to DL with groin strain

    Yanks' Sabathia to DL with groin strain

    NEW YORK (AP) -- The Yankees are losing off the field, too. … More »

    AP - Sports - 5 minutes ago
  • Ryu takes LPGA lead after 7-under 65

    Ryu takes LPGA lead after 7-under 65

    So Yeon Ryu birdied five of her last eight holes for a bogey-free 7-under 65 and a two-stroke lead Friday in the windy Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic. Ranked 10th in the world but sixth in the race for the four spots on South Korea's Olympic team, Ryu … More »

    AP - Sports - 5 minutes ago
  • Truex nabs pole for KC Sprint Cup race

    Truex nabs pole for KC Sprint Cup race

    Martin Truex Jr. will start on the pole Saturday night in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway. Truex turned a lap of 190.921 mph in the final round of qualifying Friday night, earning his first pole since April 2012 at Texas and giving … More »

    AP - Sports - 9 minutes ago
  • Humphries Crosses Love

    Humphries Crosses Love

    Kris Humphries crosses up Kevin Love for the layup. … More »

    NBA.com - 13 minutes ago
  • Rockies place C Hundley on 15-day DL

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Colorado catcher Nick Hundley was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left oblique strain before the Rockies' game against the San Francisco Giants. … More »

    AP - Sports - 15 minutes ago