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Espinosa's HR lifts Nationals over Cardinals in 10th

Jun 17, 2011 - 7:12 AM Washington, DC (Sports Network) - Danny Espinosa belted a three-run homer in the bottom of the 10th inning to lift the Washington Nationals to a 7-4 win over the St. Louis Cardinals, completing a three-game sweep.

Jayson Werth, Roger Bernadina and Laynce Nix all had solo shots for the Nationals, who swept the Cardinals for the first time since 2007 and have won six straight overall.

"We're just playing good ball," Espinosa said. "The atmosphere in this clubhouse is awesome. It's so fun playing with all my teammates."

On four days rest, starter John Lannan was solid through seven innings for the Nationals. He gave up just two runs on six hits, but did not factor into the decision as Sean Burnett (2-3) recorded the win with a scoreless 10th.

Matt Holliday finished 2-for-3 with a home run in his return from the disabled list, which he had been on because of a quadriceps injury, but could not prevent St. Louis from losing a season-high sixth straight game.

Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina had late-game home runs to send it into extra innings, but Fernando Salas (3-1) surrendered Espinosa's home run to get the loss.

"The effort today was outstanding to come back like we did," said Cardinals manager Tony La Russa. "Last game of the road trip and everything, makes it a tougher loss."

With Washington up 4-2, the Nationals bullpen could not do its job in the eighth and ninth.

Tyler Clippard came for the eighth and gave up a two-out home run to Pujols, while closer Drew Storen entered in the ninth and served up a game-tying home run to Molina. It was Storen's second blown save of the year, forcing Washington's offense to bail out the bullpen in extras.

After Burnett kept the Cardinals from scoring in the 10th, Ryan Zimmerman singled to start the home half. Nix then struck out and Salas plunked Michael Morse in the thigh before serving an elevated changeup to Espinosa, who deposited it over the fence in right to end the game.

Werth and Bernadina set the tone early with back-to-back home runs in the first to give the Nationals a 2-0 lead.

During the second inning, Holliday stepped into batter's box for the first time since his DL stint and crushed a homer that curled around the left foul pole, cutting the deficit in half.

The Cardinals then tied the game in the fourth when Pujols drew a leadoff walk, moved to second on a Holliday single and dashed to third on Lance Berkman's groundout before scoring on Molina's deep groundout up the middle.

However, the deadlock did not last long. The Nationals scored during the bottom half when Morse doubled and scored on Espinosa's ground single into right.

The Nationals claimed a 4-2 lead in the sixth, when Nix launched a solo shot into right.

Game Notes

Cardinals starter Kyle Lohse gave up four runs on seven hits over six innings...Washington won the season series 4-2...Each team left seven runners on base...The Nationals had an error in the ninth by Espinosa to end a 131- inning errorless streak, the longest in the majors this season.