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Harper's walk-off homer gives Washington Nationals 8-6 win over Atlanta Braves
Washington Nationals' Bryce Harper gestures as he heads home after he hit a two-run walk-off home run during the ninth inning of Saturday's game against the Atlanta Braves in Washington. The Nationals won 8-6. - photo by Nick Wass

WASHINGTON — Bryce Harper did it again, extending his remarkable homer streak with a two-run shot in the bottom of the ninth inning that sent the Washington Nationals over the Atlanta Braves 8-6 Saturday.

Harper homered for the sixth time in his last three games, one off the major league record set by Shawn Green in 2002.

At 22, Harper had already become the youngest player in big league history to hit five home runs in two games. His one-out drive pushed the Nationals, a preseason favorite to win the World Series, over .500 for the first time this year.

Harper homered three times vs. Miami on Wednesday and connected twice against Atlanta on Friday night. His teammates ripped his jersey in the home-plate scrum, then pitcher Max Scherzer punctuated the party with the team's newest victory celebration — he poured chocolate sauce over Harper during a postgame interview.

The Nationals blew a five-run lead before rebounding in the ninth against Cody Martin (1-1). Yunel Escobar had a leadoff single, Jayson Werth struck out and Harper hit his 11th home run on a 1-0 pitch.

Harper has 12 RBIs in his last three games. He also made a nifty, running catch in right field in the eighth inning.

Drew Storen (1-0) pitched the top of the ninth for the win.

Washington has won nine of 11, going 4-0 against the Braves in that span. The Nationals were 7-13 before getting on a roll with three straight victories in Atlanta.

Harper won on a day the Nationals celebrated their 10th season in Washington by having Hall of Fame slugger Frank Robinson throw out the ceremonial first pitch. Robinson was the Nationals' manager in their first two years after moving from Montreal.

Washington built a 6-1 lead in the fifth. By that point, everyone in the starting lineup had at least one hit against Julio Teheran.

Nationals starter Doug Fister took a three-hitter into the seventh and got the first two outs before allowing three straight hits — the last a two-run double by pinch hitter Pedro Ciriaco.

The inning ended with Harper making a stretching, over-the-shoulder catch of Nick Markakis' liner.

Atlanta pulled even in the eighth when Jace Peterson had an RBI grounder and Christian Bethancourt added a two-out, two-run double.

In the bottom half, pinch runner Michael A. Taylor was thrown out at the plate by left fielder Kelly Johnson trying to score from second on a single.

Washington grabbed an early 3-0 lead in the second when Jose Lobaton hit a two-run homer and Escobar added an RBI single. Both of Lobaton's home runs this season have come against Teheran, against whom he is 7 for 13 lifetime.

Fister held the Nationals hitless until Alberto Callaspo led off the fifth with a bloop single and scored on a two-out double by Cameron Maybin.

Ryan Zimmerman homered in the fifth following singles by Werth and Harper. The drive to left was initially called a double, but replay showed the ball had cleared the wall before bouncing back into the field of play.

It was Zimmerman's first home run in 24 games since April 14.

Teheran gave up six runs and 10 hits in five innings. In two starts against Washington this season, the right-hander has yielded 13 runs and 20 hits.


Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg said a flaw in his mechanics forced him from Tuesday's game, and that the problem has been solved. Strasburg said he changed his delivery because of an ankle injury, which in turn affected his back.

Manager Matt Williams declined to specify a date for Strasburg's return, saying, "We'll see how he is (Sunday) and go from there."


Braves: Alex Wood (1-2, 4.32 ERA) seeks his first win since April 7 when he takes the mound Sunday in the series finale.

Nationals: Jordan Zimmermann (2-2, 4.15 ERA) is 5-2 lifetime against the Braves, including a win on April 29 in which he outdueled Wood.

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