Danny Espinosa's second-inning three-run home run put the Washington Nationals (30-25) ahead to stay as the Nationals held off a comeback attempt to defeat the Chicago Cubs (28-25) 7-5 Friday night at Nationals Park.
After the Nationals got the first two men on in the bottom of the second, Espinosa sent a 2-2 fastball from Tsuyoshi Wada over the Cubs' bullpen and into the stands for a three-run home run (7) to start the scoring (video). Wilson Ramos (single) and Ian Desmond (double) scored ahead of Espinosa.
The Nationals later took a 5-1 lead with two in the fourth via Michael Taylor's sacrifice fly and Denard Span's RBI single.
The Cubs started their comeback effort in the top of the fourth when Anthony Rizzo hit the first of two home runs. Rizzo hit a solo home run (10) in the fourth and a two-run shot (11) in the sixth. With two outs in the sixth, Miguel Montero also homered (6) to make the score 5-4.
Washington added insurance runs in the seventh (Ramos RBI double) and eighth (Dan Uggla RBI double). Chicago scored once more in the ninth (Chris Coghlan RBI single) but could not pull any closer.
Tanner Roark (W: 2-2, 3.16 ERA) pitched 5 2/3 innings, allowing four earned runs on six hits, three of them home runs. He walked none and struck out six. Four Nationals relievers held off the Cubs with Drew Storen (S: 18) allowing the ninth-inning run. He struck out Matt Szczur, representing the tying run, to end the game.
Wada (L: 0-1, 4.19) made his shortest outing of the season by lasting only 3 1/3 innings. Espinosa's home run is one of nine hits and three of five runs Wada allowed. He walked two and struck out one.
The two teams play at 12:05 p.m. EDT on Saturday with Jason Hammel (4-2, 2.82) on the mound for Chicago and Joe Ross (0-0, ---) making his Major League debut for the Nationals.