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Nationals 6-5 Over Marlins: Danny Espinosa's Second Home Run Is A Walk-Off Winner

The big story at the start of today's game was Doug Fister's return to the mound in Viera, Florida's Space Coast Stadium, but by the end of the game, it was all about Washington Nationals' second baseman Danny Espinosa, whose second home run was a walk-off winner.

Doug Fister threw 3 2/3 scoreless against the Miami Marlins in this afternoon's game, returning to the mound for the first time since March 2nd, when he experienced tightness in his elbow following his first start for the Washington Nationals who acquired the 30-year-old, 6'8'' right-hander this winter.

Facing the Marlins again today in Viera, Florida's Space Coast Stadium, Fister threw 47 pitches, struck four batters out and induced four ground ball outs before he was done for the day.

The Nationals had a 1-0 lead when he left the game, courtesy of an RBI sac fly/E9. Jayson Werth flew to right in the third after back-to-back one-out singles by Denard Span and Bryce Harper, and Marlins' outfielder Reed Johnson dropped the ball. 1-0 Nationals.

The home team took a 2-0 lead in the fourth.

Bryce Harper doubled to right to start the inning, took third on a wild pitch by Marlins' starter Henderson Alvarez and scored on a sac fly to right by Wilson Ramos.

Chris Young took over on the mound after Fister was done for the day

Fister's Line: 3.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 Ks, 4 GO, 47 P, 33 S.

Young is still in the competition for the fifth spot in the Nats' rotation though he's probably a distant third in the race behind Taylor Jordan and Tanner Roark (in no particular order). The big right-hander retired four of the first five batters he faced, giving up just a two-out single by Juan Diaz in the top of the fifth. He retired the Marlins in order in the top of the sixth to complete 2 1/3 scoreless.

Bryce Harper fouled off five two-strike pitches before singling to left off Fish right-hander Kevin Slowey with one down in the bottom of the sixth inning, but he got picked off first by Marlins' catcher Jeff Mathis after a called strike three on Wilson Ramos as part of an inning-ending double play.

Marcell Ozuna took Rafael Soriano deep to start the seventh inning, cutting the Nationals' lead in half, 2-1.

The Nationals' closer retired the next three batters in order.

Nats' first baseman Adam LaRoche and second baseman Danny Espinosa hit back-to-back solo home runs off Kevin Slowey in the bottom of the seventh inning, with LaRoche hitting an opposite field blast to left and "Left Side" Danny taking the Fish right-hander to right for a 4-1 Nationals' lead.

Ross Detwiler's second relief outing of the spring started with a weak groundout to first from Juan Diaz, but got ugly after that with the Nats' lefty giving up a single by Matt Angle, then walking Jake Marisnick in front of Donovan Solano, who hit a two-run double to left to make it 4-3 Nationals. Solano took third on an ill-advised throw in from left by Bryce Harper, then scored the tying run on a sac fly by Marcell Ozuna, 4-4 game.

The Nationals retook the lead in the bottom of the inning, however, with Wilson Ramos driving pinch runner Jeff Kobernus in after he took over for Ryan Zimmerman on the basepaths following Zimmerman's one-out walk.

Ramos 2 for 3 with 3 RBIs. 5-4 Nationals after eight.

Michael Gonzalez took over in the ninth and gave up a run, with pinch hitter Danny Black singling Ty Wiggington in after the veteran infielder singled and took third on a line drive hit to right by Juan Diaz. 5-5 after eighth and a half in Space Coast Stadium.

But Danny Espinosa did it again in the bottom of the inning, hitting a walk-off blast to left field off Marlins' right-hander Chaz Roe to give the Nationals a 6-5 win.