MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Harper does it again: Walk-off sinks Braves

Harper does it again: Walk-off sinks Braves

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals saw a five-run lead evaporate in the late innings, but they managed to win Saturday's game, 8-6, in the bottom of ninth inning on a two-run home run by Bryce Harper. It was the third walk-off homer of the 22-year-old's career.

With a runner on first and Atlanta right-hander Cody Martin on the mound, Harper swung at a 1-0 pitch and hit the ball over the right-center-field wall to end the game. Statcast™ tracked the homer -- Harper's sixth in his last three games -- at 435 feet, with an exit speed of 111 mph.

"That guy comes through with big hits and some wonderful catches in all times of the night," starter Doug Fister said. "He is a guy that comes in and does what he needs to do. That's what we need as a teammate. We sure appreciate what he does."

Harper's running grab

With the victory, the Nationals have won nine out of 11 games and are now a game over .500 with a 16-15 record, while the Braves fell to 14-16.

"Guys are getting healthy," Washington manager Matt Williams said. "For the most part, our bullpen has stepped up. Some guys in some different role are getting comfortable in those roles. Of course, the offense has picked up."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Nats use the long ball: Seven out of the Nats' eight runs came on homers. In addition to Harper's homer off Martin, Jose Lobaton hit a two-run homer in the second, while Ryan Zimmerman hit a three-run shot in the fifth inning. Both of those came off Braves starter Julio Teheran.

Lobaton's two-run blast

But it was Harper who won the game for the Nationals.

"I was trying to get a good AB. Being able to go up there and see a pitch I can deliver, and I got it going," Harper said. More >

Fister OK: Fister went 6 2/3 innings and allowed three runs on six hits. He held the Braves hitless until the fifth inning, when he allowed a single to Alberto Callaspo.

Fister's solid outing

Fister acknowledged that he ran out of gas in the seventh after he allowed a two-run double to Pedro Ciriaco.

Ciriaco's two-run double

"Skip had every right coming out and getting me there," Fister said. "I couldn't locate a ball there that last inning. I'm fortunate that the guys came behind me and did the job."

Teheran hit hard: Coming off his best start of the season -- six shutout innings in a 5-0 win against the Reds on Sunday -- Teheran threw five innings and allowed a season-high six earned runs and 10 hits against the Nationals.

Teheran starts double play

It marked the fourth time in his last five starts that Teheran did not throw at least six innings. All nine Nationals had at least one hit against Teheran, including Lobaton, who improved to 7-for-13 lifetime (.538) against the right-hander. More >

Braves rally in eighth: Atlanta erased a 6-1 deficit with a two-run seventh inning and a three-run eighth, culminating with a two-out, two-run double from catcher Christian Bethancourt that scored Freddie Freeman and Callaspo.

Bethancourt's game-tying double

UPON FURTHER REVIEW
With runners on first and second in the fifth, it looked like Zimmerman hit a double that scored just Jayson Werth. But Williams insisted that the ball went over the fence for a three-run homer. The umpires decided to look at the replay, and after one minute and 57 seconds, the ruling was overturned and Zimmerman had his third homer of the season. More >

Zimmerman's reviewed homer

QUOTABLE
"I just just want to keep playing, I want to keep having fun, stay heatlhy. That's all I care about. I like to stay in the lineup, stay healthy, that's all I want to do. ... Like I've been saying, I have a lot of great guys around me. I have a great manager who believes in me and we have a lot of fun in this clubhouse. It makes it easy." -- Harper

"He's the hottest player in the world right now. He's putting good swings on everything, he's seeing the ball well, his balance is good. You can't really do any one thing to him that's going to get him out. I think you just have to keep mixing it up, and that just wasn't the right pitch there, I guess." -- Martin, on the Harper walk-off home run

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Harper is the first player to hit six home runs in three games since Hee-Seop Choi did it with the Los Angeles Dodgers from June 10-12, 2005.

WHAT'S NEXT
Braves: Alex Wood, who is winless in his last five starts, will face the Nationals for the second time in two weeks in Sunday's series finale at 1:35 p.m. ET. The left-hander threw five innings and allowed a season-high five runs and six hits in a 13-4 loss to the Nationals on April 29 in Atlanta. Wood is 1-2 with a 4.32 ERA and is coming off his shortest outing of the season (4 1/3 innings) in a 5-2 loss to the Phillies on Monday.

Nationals: Right-hander Jordan Zimmermann is looking to win his third game of the season. Zimmermann took a no-decision against the Marlins on Monday, even though he pitched seven innings and allowed two runs on six hits. He has allowed only one walk in his past three starts.

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. Ben Raby is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.