ANAHEIM, Calif. — Bryce Harper hit a long, impressive homer over Mike Trout’s head the first inning. A few minutes later, Trout hit a homer of similar length and impressiveness.
About three hours after that, the Washington Nationals finished off another win and Harper wrapped up another enormous performance during a meeting of two superstars.
Harper went 4 for 4, and he tripled and scored on Ryan Zimmerman’s tiebreaking RBI single in the eighth inning of the Nationals’ sixth straight victory, 4-3 over the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday night.
Harper and Trout traded first-inning homers, but Harper won the duel with another spectacular offensive game in his 24-for-51 July. He barely missed hitting for the cycle when he was out by a few millimeters at second while trying to stretch a single in the third inning.
Trout went 1 for 4 with an RBI groundout in the ninth as the Angels rallied against new Washington reliever Sean Doolittle, who got a hairy save. Trout’s homer was his first since his return from the disabled list.
“Trout is a great player, one of the best players in the game,” Harper said. “I think this game is filled with a lot of young talent, and a lot of fans love baseball because of that reason.”
Anthony Rendon hit a tying homer in the seventh for Washington, and Adam Lind added a ninth-inning homer.
Harper and Zimmerman got back-to-back hits off Cam Bedrosian (2-2) to push the NL East leaders to their 10th win in 12 games.
Harper extended his hitting streak to 13 games, and Rendon got a hit in his 12th straight game. Both tied the longest streaks of their careers.
Martin Maldonado also homered for the Angels, who have lost eight of 11.
The Angels rallied in the ninth when Ben Revere advanced to third on Kole Calhoun’s double off the right-field wall and then scored on Trout’s grounder.
But Doolittle got Albert Pujols on a meek fly to left to end it.
Washington manager Dusty Baker decided to pitch to Trout with first base open, and his club survived.
“I’ve been beaten by Albert Pujols more than I’ve been beaten by Trout,” Baker said in explaining his decision. “It worked. That’s not my ideal situation, to have to choose between Trout and Pujols. Sometimes you take a shot and win.”
Relievers Ryan Madson and Doolittle made their Washington debuts after arriving in a trade with Oakland on Sunday. Madson pitched a perfect eighth before Doolittle’s adventure.
“I think you could tell there was a little bit of nerves in the beginning,” Doolittle said. “Fortunately I was able to manage it. … I promise they won’t all be like that.”
Edwin Jackson (1-0) pitched seven innings of stellar three-hit ball in his first appearance in five years for the Nationals, who recalled him before the game.
“It felt good coming over here with a fresh start,” said Jackson, who retired 13 straight Angels at one point. “I’m out here to cherish every moment.”
Jackson began the season with Baltimore before signing with Washington as a minor league free agent one month ago. The well-traveled right-hander went 10-11 for the Nats in 2012, but pitched for five clubs before rejoining Washington and then getting this spot start when Joe Ross got hurt.
Jesse Chavez kept pace with Jackson for Los Angeles, pitching into the seventh.
Nationals: OF Jayson Werth told reporters he has a broken bone in his left foot, rather than a bruise. He played with a hairline fracture in his toe earlier in the year, but this injury has kept him out for six weeks. He is already participating in baseball activities.
Angels: OF Cameron Maybin left the game in the first inning after he sprained a ligament in his right knee while sliding awkwardly into second base. “I’m glad that the results are probably the best that they could have been,” Maybin said. “I’m a pretty quick healer. Just got to stay positive.”
Nationals: Gio Gonzalez (8-4, 2.66 ERA) has been having an outstanding summer, but he had lost three straight starts before dazzling Cincinnati last week by pitching scoreless four-hit ball into the ninth.
Angels: Alex Meyer (3-5, 4.18 ERA) will return from the minors to make his 13th start of a fairly solid season. He hasn’t pitched for Los Angeles since July 3, however.
More AP MLB: http://www.apnews.com/tags/MLBbaseball