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WASHINGTON (AP) - Bryce Harper's two-run homer in the bottom of the 13th inning lifted Washington past the New York Mets 5-3 Thursday and gave the Nationals a season-high 4 1/2-game lead in the NL East.

The Nationals take that margin over the reeling second-place Braves into a three-game series that opens Friday at Atlanta. The Braves were off Thursday after an 0-8 road trip against the Dodgers, Padres and Mariners.

Harper's shot to left on a 1-0 pitch off righty Carlos Torres (5-5) after Ian Desmond's leadoff walk was only the fourth homer of an injury-plagued season for the 2012 NL Rookie of the Year.

It was the second game-winning homer of Harper's career. The other came July 25, 2013, against Pittsburgh.

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