Bryce Harper, even at age 19, has become such an ingrained part of the Washington Nationals' season that you forget how often he still encounters something new. Monday night, he played in this city for the first time. He introduced himself with a booming home run, and later the game provided Harper with a stage befitting the town's scope.

Harper came to the plate in the 10th inning, the score tied, the bases loaded, the sky spitting rain on Citi Field. His missile of a single off New York Mets reliever Pedro Beato put the Nationals ahead and unlocked a stirring conclusion to their 8-2 victory. The Nationals, after going hitless for a span of 24 batters at one point, scored six runs in the final inning to open a seven-game trip with a win. Combined with the Atlanta Braves' loss, the Nationals extended their lead in the National League East to 41 / 2 games.