Medlen unable to right the ship against Nationals
Right-hander roughed up for second consecutive start
VIERA, Fla. -- Danny Espinosa and Adam LaRoche drove in a combined six runs, as the Nationals pounded the Braves, 9-3, in a rain-shortened, seven-inning game at Space Coast Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Washington was able to get to right-hander Kris Medlen early and often, starting in the first inning. Denard Span scored the first run of the game on a throwing error by catcher Matt Pagnozzi, who was trying to throw out Bryce Harper trying to steal second base. Harper then scored on a single by LaRoche.
Harper went 3-for-3 with a pair of singles, a double and two stolen bases, after sitting out Saturday with a jammed thumb.
In the next inning, Danny Espinosa scored the third run of the game on a single by Jayson Werth with two outs. In the third, Espinosa hit a three-run homer to make it a 6-0 game.
Medlen lasted five innings and allowed six runs on eight hits. It was the second rough outing in a row for Medlen, who struggled on Monday against the Phillies. The Braves' bullpen allowed three runs the rest of the way. LaRoche capped off the scoring with a two-run homer off right-hander David Carpenter.
Right-hander Jordan Zimmermann was solid for the Nationals, allowing three runs (one earned) on six hits over six innings, while striking out three batters.
Dan Uggla delivered an RBI single in the fourth to get Atlanta on the board. Tyler Pastornicky had an RBI groundout and Juan Francisco added an RBI single in the Braves' two-run sixth inning.
With the win, the Nationals are 2-3 against the Braves this spring.
Up next: Mike Minor will attempt to bounce back from a couple of rough outings when he starts against the Mets on Monday afternoon at Champion Stadium. Minor has allowed nine runs in his past five innings, dating back to the four-run fifth inning the Cardinals produced against him on March 14. The left-hander had worked 12 consecutive scoreless innings before entering this stretch. B.J. Upton, who has hit .369 with two home runs in 21 games, is expected to be in the lineup. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.