WASHINGTON — Bryce Harper hit three home runs in a game for the first time and had five RBIs in his finest day with the Nationals, and Washington beat the Miami Marlins 7-5 Wednesday for their third straight series win.
Harper hit a 393-foot solo shot off the second inning, a 442-foot, two-run drive in the third and 445-foot bases-empty shot in the fifth, the last two reaching the second deck. Each of the home runs came on the second pitch of the at-bat off Tom Koehler (2-3), and they raised Harper's season total to eight.
With an opportunity to tie major league record of four homers in a game, Harper hit a run-scoring groundout to second base against Sam Dyson in the seventh.
Harper, in his fourth major league season, previously hit two homers in a game on five occasions.
Max Scherzer (2-3) struck out 10 and allowed five runs and 10 hits over seven-plus innings. He entered with a 1.26 ERA but Washington scored a total of two runs in his three defeats.
Scherzer was pulled after giving up a three-run homer to Giancarlo Stanton in the eighth.
Drew Stroren got three outs for his eighth save and seal the Nationals' second win in the three-game series.
Harper entered 1 for 17 in May and 2 for 15 against Koehler, although one of those hits was a home run.
He became the fourth Nationals player to hit three homers in game following Alfonso Soriano (2006), Adam Dunn (2010), and Ryan Zimmerman (2013).
With Harper leading the way, the Nationals hit two homers, three doubles and a single over the first three innings while building a 4-2 lead.
The barrage began in the second, when Harper hit an opposite-field drive to left on a 1-0 pitch.
In the third, two doubles and a sacrifice fly by Yunel Escobar made it 2-all before another Harper home run put the Nationals ahead for good.
Harper connected in the fifth inning with such force that Stanton stood motionless in right field, looking toward the infield as the ball soared into the seats behind him.
Marlins: OF Christian Yelich (lower back strain) was scheduled to play for Class A Jupiter on Wednesday. The Marlins hoped to activate him off the DL during the four-game series in San Francisco that starts Thursday night.
Nationals: There was no update on RHP Stephen Strasburg, who left Tuesday's game after three innings with irritation beneath his shoulder blade. ... OF Jayson Werth missed a second straight day with a sore shoulder, the lingering effect of offseason surgery. "It's going to be cranky from time to time," manager Matt Williams said. ... RHP Casey Janssen (shoulder tendinitis) will begin a rehabilitation assignment Thursday with Class A Potomac.
Marlins: Miami opens a seven-game West Coast swing by sending Dan Haren (3-1, 2.70 ERA) to the mound Thursday night against the Giants.
Nationals: Washington enjoys what Williams called "a welcome day off" on Thursday before opening a three-game home series against the Braves.