January 26, 2020

Washington Nationals Game 55 Review: Espinosa provides pop as Nats top Cubs

Danny Espinosa’s renaissance continued, as he went 2 for 4 with a home and three driven in and the Washington Nationals topped the Chicago Cubs 7-5 Friday at Nationals Park.

Espinosa’s three-run homer in teh second off Cubs starter Tsuyoshi Wada was his seventh of the season. Espinosa, who figured to lose playing time with the activation of Anthony Rendon this week, was back in the starting lineup at second, with Rendon sliding over to third, as Yunel Escobar missed the game with a wrist injury sustained Thursday night on a checked swing.

The offensive outburst made a winner to Tanner Roark, who ran out of gas in the sixth inning but pitched well enough up until that point to run his record to 2-2. He gave up four earned runs on six hits, striking out six. Most of that damage came in the sixth inning, as he tired quickly in his starting role after being relegated to the bullpen much of the season.

Roark gave up two homer to Anthony Rizzo, and Miguel Montero’s blast in the sixth ended Roark’s night.

Aaron Barrett, Casey Janssen and Blake Treinen all provided a scoreless inning of relief, and Drew Storen picked up his 18th save of the season, despite allowing his first earned run since April 21.

Manager Matt Williams mixed the batting order up with Escobar out. Ryan Zimmerman was moved to the two-hole and went 1 for 5. Bryce Harper hit behind him and went 1 for 2 with two more walks. Rendon slotted into the cleanup role and went 1 for 4 and Wilson Ramos his fifth. He. Ian Desmond and Espinosa all had two hits.

The Nats host the Cubs at 12:05 Eastern on Saturday. Joe Ross, picked up in the multi-team deal the Nats pulled in the offseason, makes his Major League debut against Jason Hammel (4-2, 2.82). Ross, 22, is 2-2 with a 2.81 ERA and 1.130 WHIP in 51 1/3 innings for AA-Harrisburg. He owns a 9.5 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 in nine starts.

About Dave Nichols

Dave Nichols is Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page. He is credentialed to cover the Washington Nationals, Capitals, Wizards and Mystics. Dave also covers national college football and basketball and Major League Soccer for Associated Press and is a copy editor for the Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, WA. He spent four years in radio covering the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Redskins and the University of Maryland football and basketball teams. Dave is a life-long D.C. sports fan and attended his first pro game in 1974 — the Caps’ second game in existence. You can follow him on Twitter @DaveNicholsDSP

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