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Washington Nationals 13-4 over Cincinnati Reds: Danny Espinosa hits slam and 3-run HR

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The Washington Nationals pounded the Cincinnati Reds in the series opener in the nation's capital, scoring 13 runs in what ended up being a 13-4 win. Danny Espinosa hit a grand slam and a three-run home run to end an impressive month of June at the plate.

Matt Hazlett/Getty Images

Cincinnati took two of the three games from the Washington Nationals in Great American Ball Park earlier this month, with Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Brandon Phillips and Zack Cozart doing damage throughout the series, prompting one-time Reds' skipper Dusty Baker to wonder if it was all his fault.

"Honestly, I was thinking about Fred MacMurray, and 'My Three Sons'," Baker said after the Nationals' took the series finale to avoid a sweep in Ohio, "but I've got four sons over there that wreaked havoc on us this series in Brandon and Joey and Jay Bruce and Cozart, and man, I was like, 'Did I teach you guys to do that?"

Tonight in the nation's capital it was Baker's new charges doing damage in what ended up a 13-4 win for Washington as the Nationals beat the Reds for just the third time in the last ten games between the two teams and won their fifth straight overall.

Gio Gonzalez gave up a run on a bases-loaded sac fly in the top of the first, but his teammates picked him up in the bottom of the inning with Wilson Ramos driving in a run with a sac fly to left and Ryan Zimmerman hitting a two-out, three-run home run to center in Nationals Park for a 4-1 lead after one. Zimmerman's 11th. #TKCHZ

Danny Espinosa stepped in with the bases loaded and one out in the third, got hold of a 2-2 fastball and hit a grand slam over the visitor's bullpen to put the Nationals up 8-1 and end Reds' starter Brandon Finnegan's night.

Gonzalez struck out the side in consecutive innings in the third and fourth, with five straight strikeouts and Ks from six of seven batters faced.

Espinosa did it again in the home-half of the fourth, hitting a three-run blast to left from the left side for his second home run of the night and his 15th HR on the year, making it 13-1 Nationals after Chris Heisey drove in two with a bases-loaded single.

Joey Votto homered to left to lead off the sixth and get the Reds within 11 runs. Votto's 14th.

A single and double by Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce, respectively, set the Reds up with runners on second and third with one out and Adam Duvall drove Phillips in with a groundout to make it 13-3 before Reds' catcher Tucker Barnhart singled to bring Bruce in, 13-4, as the Reds chipped away.

Gio Gonzalez's Line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 9 Ks, 1 HR, 104 P, 60 S, 5/2 GO/FO.

Matt Belisle handled the seventh. Felipe Rivero tossed a scoreless eighth, starting an impressive 1-4-3 double play to end the inning, and came back out for the ninth to finish the Reds off. Ballgame. 13-4 final.

Nationals now 48-32

NATS NOTES:

  • With four straight wins the Washington Nationals have improved to 47-32 on the year, giving them the third-best record in the National League, behind the San Francisco Giants (49-31) and Chicago Cubs (51-26).
  • Heading into this weekend's four-game set, Cincinnati holds a seven-game advantage in the all-time series with Washington (2005-present), but the Nationals have an advantage since 2012, winning 15 of 29 games since then.
  • The Nationals have won 19 of 35 games with the Reds in D.C., while going 15-25 in Cincinnati, but the Reds have won seven of the last nine games with Washington over the last two seasons.
  • Daniel Murphy's second of two home runs last night matched his previous career high for a full season.
  • In today's "Fun with Arbitrary End Points" segment: Daniel Murphy is 10 for 25 (.400 AVG), with a double, triple and three home runs... over his last six games.
  • Reds' slugger Jay Bruce is the only Cincinnati player since 1933 with at least 18 doubles, six triples and 17 home runs prior to the All-Star Break.
  • Reds' left fielder Adam Duvall leads all major league left fielders in home runs, RBIs and extra-base hits.
  • In a bonus "Fun with Arbitrary End Points" segment: The Nationals' hitters, as a group, rank second among all NL teams in average (.274), on-base percentage (.341) and slugging percentage (.456)... since June 1st.
  • Danny Espinosa has hit 7 of 13 home runs on the season in the last month, and since June 8th, the Nationals' shortstop is 20 for 59 (.339 AVG) with four doubles and five home runs. He added two tonight, a grand slam and a three-run blast, one from each side of the plate.
  • Washington's bullpen has posted a 1.73 ERA in 26 IP since June 19th, striking out 31 batters and issuing just two walks.

Nationals now 48-32