1 of 6 | Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos (40) cannot control a throw to the plate as Atlanta Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons (19) scores in the third inning at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. on May 8, 2015. Photo by Mark Goldman/UPI | License Photo
Bryce Harper smacked a go-ahead two-run homer in the sixth inning and added a three-run shot in the eighth as the Washington Nationals defeated the Atlanta Braves 9-2 in the opener of a three- game set.
Harper has slugged five homers in his last two games, coming off a three-homer night Wednesday against the Miami Marlins.
Danny Espinosa also hit a pair of homers for the Nationals, who have won five of their last six games. Gio Gonzalez (3-2) struck out eight and allowed two runs on five hits and a walk over seven innings.
Jayson Werth added a solo shot in the triumph.
Freddie Freeman ripped a pair of doubles and drove in a run for Atlanta, which had won four of its last six games coming in. Eric Stults (1-3) fanned seven, but surrendered three runs on seven hits over six frames.
The Braves led 2-0 before the Nationals plated a run in the fourth, two in the sixth, another in the seventh and three more in the eighth to surge in front.
Werth launched a 1-2 fastball deep into the seats in left to lead off the fourth. Yunel Escobar began the sixth with a single and Harper put the Nats in front with his two-run blast to left-center that barely crept over the wall.
Espinosa's one-out solo shot to left in the seventh made it 4-2, while Harper's three-run homer and Espinosa's second round-tripper, a two-run blast, in the eighth made it 9-2.
Earlier, Jonny Gomes' sacrifice fly in the first and Freeman's RBI double in the third staked Atlanta to its 2-0 margin.
Harper already has 10 homers and 25 RBI on the season ... Escobar and Werth scored a pair of runs ... Freeman had two of Atlanta's six hits ... Washington was 2-for-4 with runners in scoring position, while Atlanta finished 1-for-5 with RISP.