- Associated Press - Monday, September 6, 2010

WASHINGTON | The last thing rookie Danny Espinosa expected five games into his major league career was to take a curtain call.

Espinosa drove in six runs, hitting a grand slam, a solo homer and getting two other hits, and helping the Washington Nationals rout the New York Mets 13-3 Monday for their third straight victory.

“To have this kind of start is unbelievable,” Espinosa said. “It’s an unbelievable feeling. All the emotions are going through me. It’s crazy.”

Espinosa, called up from Triple-A on Wednesday, led off the third inning with a home run off Mike Pelfrey. Espinosa added an RBI single in the fifth, hit a grand slam off Ryota Igarashi in the sixth and doubled in the eighth.

“I got a couple of pitches up that I was able to drive. It went my way today. … I couldn’t have imagined this,” Espinosa said.

After the slam, it took a friendly nudge from star Ivan Rodriguez to coax Espinosa out of the dugout for a curtain call from the 20,224 at Nationals Park. His parents and two younger sisters were in attendance.

“That was awesome — the biggest rush. I could see my family up there and all the fans,” Espinosa said.

Espinosa has three homers in his last four games. The performance earned him a whipped cream pie in the face — instead of the traditional shaving cream variety, which might have damaged his contact lenses — from teammate John Lannan.

Washington scored 13 unanswered runs to post its 60th win of the season, eclipsing the Nationals’ total from both 2008 and 2009.

“It’s one of those days where you really feel good about where your organization is going. … We want to raise the bar a little higher than that, but it’s a step,” Washington manager Jim Riggleman said.

Rodriguez’s two-run double ignited a five-run rally in the fourth. Michael Morse hit a tiebreaking single off Pelfrey (13-9) as the Nationals came back from a 3-0 deficit. Rodriguez finished with three RBIs.

Scott Olsen (4-8) picked up the victory with four hitless innings of relief. It was Olsen’s first appearance out of the bullpen since his 2005 rookie season. Collin Balester worked the ninth, finishing a three-hitter.

Despite breaking a six-game personal skid, Olsen said he felt uncomfortable pitching in relief.

“I don’t want to be in the bullpen,” he said. “I’d rather start, but that’s not what they want me to do.”

Pelfrey lost for the third time in five decisions. He allowed six runs on five hits and walked three.

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