Danny Espinosa welcomed Pirates relief pitcher Jose Ascanio to Nationals Park Monday night with a two-run blast deep into the right field bullpen, lifting the Washington Nationals to a 4-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates before 21,960.
Nationals starter John Lannan struggled throwing strikes early on, but settled down to go 6 1/3 innings, scattering seven hits, allowing only two runs with four walks and four strikeouts. Cole Kimball pitched one inning of relief for his first major league victory (1-0). Drew Storen allowed two hits in the ninth but hung on for his ninth save of the season.
Down 1-0, the Nationals answered with a run in the bottom of the first. After Ian Desmond walked against Pirates starter Paul Maholm (1-6), Jayson Werth singled. A Wilson Ramos base knock brought Desmond home to even up the game. Jerry Hairston Jr. connected on a 3-1 pitch in the fifth for his second home run of the season, giving the Nationals a 2-1 lead.
In the seventh, the Pirates tied the game on an Andrew McCutchen triple off of Nationals reliever Cole Kimball. Ronny Cedeno led off the inning with a walk off of Lannan and came around on the McCutchen extra base hit to right field.