- Associated Press - Saturday, July 11, 2015

BALTIMORE — The Washington Nationals appeared to be mired in another offensive funk as the sixth inning began at Camden Yards.

Having made 10 consecutive outs against Baltimore Orioles right-hander Miguel Gonzalez, the Nationals desperately needed a spark to turn things around.

Bryce Harper got Washington started with his 26th home run, and Danny Espinoza subsequently added a three-run shot to propel the Nationals to a 7-4 victory Saturday night.

After Harper’s leadoff home run, Clint Robinson and Wilson Ramos singled before Espinosa sent an 0-1 pitch over the 25-foot scoreboard in right field for a 6-4 lead.

Though Espinoza’s blow was the difference-maker, Harper provided the impetus for the comeback with a no-doubt drive to right field.



“That ball was crushed. Pretty impressive,” Espinosa said. “He seems to do that a lot.”

Espinosa wasn’t sure what he was going to be asked to do when he approached the plate later in the inning.

“Thought maybe we would do a sac bunt,” he said. “Definitely a fun situation to be in right there with Bryce having hit the home run and having a couple of guys on base.”

It was his 10th home run, second-most on the team behind Harper.

Harper’s home run was his first against the Orioles in 12 career games. He’s 8 -for-44 with three RBI against Baltimore, including 5-for-26 at Camden Yards.

“I can’t see [the ball] here very well,” Harper said. “I feel it’s a little dark.”

Jordan Zimmermann (8-5) won his third consecutive start despite allowing four runs and nine hits in five innings. He was pitching one day after his wife gave birth to the couple’s second child.

“Not a lack of focus,” he insisted. “Just didn’t have it tonight.”

Caleb Joseph and Steve Pearce each hit home runs for the Orioles, who have lost nine of their last 12 games. Baltimore went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and is 0-for-15 in that situation over the first two games of the series.

“We’re just going through it right now, a tough period,” Pearce said. “We’ve got to try to battle through it, and we’ll do it.”

Gonzalez gave up two runs and five hits over the first two innings, then appeared to regain his command before things unraveled in the sixth.

“I didn’t think he was very sharp tonight early on,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “Miguel, like a lot of good pitchers, kind of found his step in the third, fourth and fifth. But it wasn’t there for him in the sixth.”

Michael Taylor added an RBI single in the ninth for the Nationals, who snapped a three-game skid. It was only the second time in nine games they scored more than three runs.

Drew Storen, the fourth Washington reliever, got three outs for his 26th save.

Washington’s first inning ended when Yunel Escobar was thrown out trying to score on a double by Robinson. Jimmy Paredes hit a run-scoring grounder in the bottom half.

After the Nationals used a run-scoring grounder and an RBI single by Taylor to go up 2-1 in the second, Joseph answered with a two-run drive in the Baltimore half.

Pearce made it 4-2 in the fourth with his seventh home run, the first since May 27.

Before this game, Zimmermann allowed only one run over 22 2/3 innings.

“For sure, it wasn’t one of my better outings,” he said. “I guess I’m happy about four runs — it could have been worse.”

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