Bryce Harper knew as soon as he hit it, giving him plenty of time to stand and watch as his walk-off home run soared into the right-center field stands. Yunel Escobar knew a split second later, watching about halfway between first and second, in plenty of time to throw his right fist in the air as he rounded the bases. Washington’s dugout knew right away, in plenty of time for the Nationals to surround home plate as Escobar and Harper crossed it, the final runs of an 8-6 win that pushed the home team above .500 for the first time this season.

Perhaps everyone in a sellout Nationals Park crowd Saturday should have known as soon as Harper came up in a tie game with one out in the ninth that it would end this way. Given that the 22-year-old had homered five times in his previous two games, perhaps him not homering would be more unbelievable than him hitting a hanging curveball into the seats. He is on such a tear that his 2-for-4 day qualifies as his least impressive performance in the past four games.

“Awe,” said Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond, asked to describe the feeling he gets when watching Harper these days. “It’s just so fun to watch.”

Over the past three games, Harper has gone 8 for 12 with six home runs and 12 RBI – 50 percent of the Nationals’ total offensive output in that span. It appeared the Nationals might not need his production Saturday as they carried a five-run lead to the seventh and a three-run lead to the eighth. Then their bullpen required it.

Starter Doug Fister left with a three-run lead in the seventh, but Aaron Barrett let three of four batters reach to begin the eighth. Braves catcher Christian Bethancourt hit a two-run double off Tanner Roark to tie the game.