Bryce Harper homered on his first swing since coming off the disabled list and his Washington Nationals teammates quickly joined in, beating the slumping Milwaukee Brewers 10-5 on Monday night.
After missing 31 games with bursitis in his left knee — the most lingering fallout from his collision with the Dodger Stadium wall — Harper energized the Nationals and sparked their second rout in two days.
After toying with the .500 mark for the whole of last month, Washington moved two games above the break-even point for the first time since late May.
Jayson Werth had five RBIs, and even pitcher Jordan Zimmermann was an offensive juggernaut with a team-high three hits, including a double to start a five-run third inning and a single to open a two-run fourth.
Working with an 8-0 lead, Zimmermann (12-3) pitched six innings and allowed four runs to tie unbeaten Max Scherzer of the Detroit Tigers for the major league lead in wins.
Harper launched the second pitch he saw from Yovani Gallardo (6-8) into the visitors’ bullpen beyond left field for an opposite-field homer that drew a thumbs-up curtain call. The Nationals improved to 26-19 when Harper plays; they are 16-21 when he does not.
The 20-year-old slugger finished one for four with a walk.
The Brewers, missing injured Ryan Braun, have lost six straight games.
REDS 8, GIANTS 1, 6 INNINGS
In Cincinnati, Ohio, Todd Frazier homered and drove in four runs, leading Cincinnati out of their offensive slump to a victory over San Francisco in a game shortened to six innings because of rain. Frazier had an RBI single and a three-run homer off left-hander Mike Kickham (0-3), who has been hit hard in each of his three major league starts.
Bronson Arroyo (7-6) gave up a pair of hits in six innings, including Brandon Belt’s homer.
Rain halted the game after the sixth. The umpires waited 1 hour, 28 minutes before calling it.
MARLINS 4, PADRES 0
In Miami, Jose Fernandez struck out 10 and allowed only two hits in a career-high eight innings as Miami beat San Diego to match a season high with their third consecutive victory.
Jeff Mathis delivered the big hit for the second game in a row, raising his batting average to .154. He hit a three-run double in the sixth, when the Marlins scored four unearned runs off Jason Marquis (9-4), who issued a career-high seven walks in 6-1/3 innings.
Mathis’ ninth-inning grand slam beat the Padres on Sunday.
The Marlins began the week with the worst record in the majors, but since June 1 they are 16-10, and they have won six of their past seven games. They have allowed three runs in the past three games.
San Diego lost for the seventh time in nine games. Padres shortstop Pedro Ciriaco made an errant throw that led to the unearned runs.
Fernandez (5-4) walked one and equaled a career high in strikeouts. Steve Cishek entered with two on and got the final out for his 15th save in 17 chances, completing a three-hitter.
Fernandez improved to 3-1 with an ERA of 1.34 over his past six starts.
METS 5, DIAMONDBACKS 4, 13 INNINGS
In New York, Andrew Brown hit a two-run single with two outs in the 13th inning as New York put together a pair of late rallies to beat Arizona, handing the NL West leaders their fourth straight loss.
Hot-hitting Josh Satin tied it with an RBI single in the ninth off Arizona closer J.J. Putz, his first save opportunity since the ex-Met went on the disabled list on May 8. Cody Ross led off the 13th with a homer against David Aardsma (1-0), but the Mets fought back again against the Diamondbacks bullpen.