Harper's homer in 9th lifts Nats past Pirates 9-7

HOWARD FENDRICH (AP Sports Writer)
The Associated Press
Harper's homer in 9th lifts Nats past Pirates 9-7
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Washington Nationals' Bryce Harper celebrates his game winning two-run home run in the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Nationals Park on Thursday, July 25, 2013, in Washington. The Nationals won 9-7. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Right in the middle of it all from the very start to the end, Bryce Harper delivered the first game-ending homer of his career, a two-run shot in the bottom of the ninth Thursday that lifted Washington to a 9-7 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates and ended the Nationals' losing streak at six.

Harper drove a hanging slider over the wall just to the left of straightaway center with two outs off Bryan Morris (4-4), who earlier allowed a single to Kurt Suzuki.

Harper raised his right fist overhead as he rounded first base and was mobbed by a bouncing pack of teammates as he reached home plate.

Ian Krol (1-0) earned the win despite being part of poor relief in the ninth that allowed the Pirates to erase a 7-3 deficit.