The baseball makes a different sound when it has the misfortune of colliding with the barrel of Bryce Harper’s bat. Other hitters’ contact creates a thud or a crack. Not Harper’s. It is a thunderclap, a sonic wave that does not travel through the air but, for a moment, fills it.

The sound stood out Wednesday night. The Washington Nationals beat the Chicago White Sox, 5-2, for reasons beyond Harper and the booming solo home run he blasted nearly into the third deck of the right field stands at Nationals Park. Shortstop Ian Desmond, a night after hitting his own homer, bashed two doubles and a triple and scored two runs. Jordan Zimmermann carved through Chicago’s lineup, allowing just two runs over seven innings and, in the sixth inning, cultivated an insurance run with a clinical sacrifice bunt.

Following their 13-hit barrage Tuesday, the Nationals laced 11 more hits. They did not allow the opposing starting pitcher to reach the seventh inning for the seventh time in eight games. Drew Storen and Rafael Soriano each posted zeroes, the latter with an emphatic untucking of his shirt to punctuate his third save. Clinching the series victory over Chicago kept the Nationals steaming toward a division showdown with first-place Atlanta, which will enter Nationals Park on Friday at 8-1.

“Hitting the barrel is contagious,” Desmond said. “And a lot of guys are finding the barrel right now.”

For the 24,586 who came to the stadium — many arriving before the umpires, whose misadventure in D.C. traffic (seriously) delayed the game for 15 minutes – the clearest memory came when Harper came to bat in the fourth inning. The White Sox led, 1-0, and Chicago right-hander Gavin Floyd, an Annapolis native, had yielded almost nothing.

Harper had grounded to first in his first at-bat. In his second, Floyd tried to jump ahead in the count with an 86-mph cutter. It did not cut. Harper whipped his bat through the strike zone with an acute vehemence. He plastered the bottom half of the pitch.

“It does sound different,” said center fielder Denard Span, Harper’s teammate for a spring training and change. “And it does come off different. He has quick-twitch muscles. He gets his bat through the zone. It’s pretty explosive.”