Cole Hamels did not mince words: He hit Bryce Harper on purpose Sunday night.

Now, Hamels figures to pay a price for his honesty.

Hamels drilled the Washington Nationals phenom in the back with the first pitch he delivered to him Sunday night, a pitch that surely looked like it had a purpose.

After the Phillies’ 9-3 win, Hamels confirmed as much.

“I was trying to hit him. I’m not going to deny it,” Hamels told news reporters.

It was a stunning bit of candor from a starting pitcher.

Even when the most obvious of purpose pitches are delivered, a pitcher goes into his best bit of acting, using phrases like “ball got away” or “just trying to throw inside” with the hope of avoiding a suspension or fine.

PHOTOS:  Bryce Harper gallery

Hamels either forgot or doesn’t care that a suspension may be coming for his act of vigilante justice.

And just what was Hamels’ motivation? Putting a 19-year-old in his place, naturally. Harper, by the way, is now hitting .308 with a .424 on-base percentage and .500 slugging percentage.

Here’s Hamels’ full admission, via the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Matt Gelb:

“I was trying to hit him. I’m not going to deny it. It’s something I grew up watching. That’s what happened. I’m just trying to continue the old baseball. Some people get away from it. I remember when I was a rookie, the strike zone was really, really small and you didn’t say anything. That’s the way baseball is. Sometimes the league is protecting certain players. It’s that old-school prestigious way of baseball.

“I’m not going to injure a guy. They’re probably not going to like me for it but I’m not going to lie and say I wasn’t trying to do it. I think they understood the message and they threw it right back. That’s the way, and I respect it. They can say whatever they want.”

Indeed, the Nats avenged the act two-fold. Harper eventually stole home after getting plunked, giving Washington a brief 1-0 lead. And Washington starter Jordan Zimmermann drilled Hamels when the Phillies lefty came to bat in the third inning.

Here’s hoping that Hamels – who continued his march toward major free agent riches with another excellent outing – re-signs with the Phillies. What was once a non-existent NL East “rivalry” is now gaining considerable spice – though Hamels’ act is probably far from the Nationals’ mind on a night Jayson Werth broke his left wrist.

Source : Cole Hamels on Bryce Harper: ‘I was trying to hit him’ – USA TODAY