Harper extends streak in grand fashion

Nats prospect collects career-high four hits, plates five runs

Bryce Harper has reached base in 19 straight games for Hagerstown. (Will Bentzel/MiLB.com)

By Danny Wild / MLB.com | May 11, 2011 7:07 PM ET

Bryce Harper stepped to the plate in the third inning, trying to keep his hitting streak alive.

"Here, the wind blows out to right a lot," Harper told the Hagerstown Herald Mail. "Every night, I try to get a pitch the I can drive swinging inside-out."

Harper certainly drove one, slugging his first career grand slam, as the Class A Hagerstown Suns cruised to an 11-5 victory over the Delmarva Shorebirds on Wednesday at Municipal Stadium.

Harper, batting .396 in his first Minor League season, extended the streak to 15 games with his bases-loaded blast to right field off Shorebirds starter Tim Adleman.

The Las Vegas native added an RBI single in the fourth, singled again in the sixth and delivered a career-best fourth hit in the eighth before scoring the Suns' eighth run.

"If you can get two hits early, things start to go really well," Harper told the newspaper. "It all depends on the field."

Harper was looking for a breaking pitch in his second at-bat.

"I went up looking for something off-speed," Harper said. "I thought curve and changeup. I got it and got a good swing on it."

Harper has been on fire since getting new contact lenses two weeks ago -- the eye exam came around the time the streak began.

"He's just really relaxed," Suns manager Brian Daubach recently told the Washington Post. "It was tough at the beginning of the year. There was a lot of pressure on him, a lot of media attention. That's died down a little bit. It's fun to watch right now."

Harper's streak is the second-longest in the South Atlantic League this season. Red Sox prospect Bryce Brentz also collected four hits Wednesday to run his streak to 23 games for Greenville.

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 Draft is batting .492 (29-for-59) with five homers and 16 RBIs during the streak, which began on April 26. He's reached base in 19 consecutive games, has posted six straight multi-hit efforts and leads the league with a .396 average.

The five RBIs on Wednesday were one shy of the career high Harper set on April 22. He also ranks among the SAL leaders in homers, doubles (11), RBIs (30), total bases (79), on-base percentage (.472) and slugging percentage (.712).

Danny Wild is an editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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