BRYCE HARPER

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It began innocently enough, a leadoff walk drawn by rookie Michael Taylor with the Nationals trailing the Pirates by three runs in the bottom of the eighth.

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GAME IN A NUTSHELL: Seeking only their second 5-game winning streak of the season, the Nationals took the field tonight knowing they'd need a quality start from struggling Gio Gon

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One by one, they stepped to the plate in the bottom of the first, hoping to put together quality at-bats but fully aware the percentages said more of them would make outs than didn't.

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That the Nationals just swept the Mets in New York isn't a major surprise. This is a team, in case you didn't realize, that has now won 11 consecutive games at Citi Field.

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