Harper hits 2 more home runs, Nationals beat Braves 9-2

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WASHINGTON (AP) — After watching Bryce Harper hit two more home runs, Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez playfully issued a warning.

"Don't touch him," Gonzalez said Friday night. "You might get third-degree burns. That guy's on fire."

Harper made it five homers in two games and Danny Espinosa also connected twice, powering Washington past the Atlanta Braves 9-2.

Harper drove in five runs with three hits. On Wednesday, he homered his first three times up against Miami and drove in five runs.

The 22-year-old Harper became the first player in Nationals/Expos franchise history to hit five homers in two games.

Told that he'd made history, Harper said: "Hopefully I hit two more tomorrow."

"Just trying to go about my business the right way, and keeping my same routine every day," he said.

The Nationals were off Thursday, and returned to action with their eighth win in 10 games. Harper has 10 home runs this season, along with those 10 RBIs in his last two games.

"That's a special month for a lot of people and he's done it in two days," Atlanta star Freddie Freeman said, "so hopefully it stops in the next two days and we can get out here and get him out."

Harper hit a two-run homer in the sixth off Eric Stults (1-3), giving Washington a 3-2 lead. He hit a three-run drive deep into the right-center field stands in the eighth against Williams Perez, who was making his major league debut.

Jayson Werth added a solo home run as the Nationals backed Gonzalez (3-2). Gonzalez pitched seven solid innings after going 0-7 in his previous eight starts against Atlanta.

After giving up runs in the first and third innings, Gonzalez settled in and retired 11 straight batters at one stretch. He allowed five hits overall while striking out eight and walking one.

"Last couple of innings he really turned it up with the fastball," manager Matt Williams said. "He was feeling for it early."

Freeman continued his success against Washington, doubling twice and driving in a run. He is 10 for 17 vs. the Nationals this year and 42 for 91 over the past two seasons.

Freeman's double in the first set up Jonny Gomes' sacrifice fly. Freeman doubled home a run in the third.

Werth made it 2-1 in the fourth with his first homer of the season.

The 23-year-old Perez, who began playing in the minors with Atlanta in 2009, recorded only one out while giving up four runs on two hits and two walks.


Braves: Andrelton Simmons has hit in seven straight, going 11 for 24 (.458) three doubles, a triple and a home run.

Nationals: Wilson Ramos extended his hitting streak to 12 games, the longest of the season for Washington. He's hitting .413 (19 for 46) during the streak.


Former Washington manager Frank Robinson will be honored on Saturday as part of the team's commemoration of its 10-year Anniversary. Robinson managed the Expos/Nationals for five years, including the team's first two seasons in Washington (2005-06).


Nationals: Werth returned after missing two games with a sore shoulder, the lingering effect of offseason surgery.


Braves: Julio Tehran (3-1, 3.82) was spotted a 9-2 lead April 28 against the Nationals. He wound up with a no-decision after allowing seven runs — three earned — and 10 hits over 5 2-3 innings as Washington rallied for a 13-12 win.

Nationals: Doug Fister (2-1, 2.61) looks to win again at Nationals Park. Since joining the team prior to last season, he's 9-2 with a 1.98 ERA at home.

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