Danny Espinosa’s homer gives Nationals lead on Brewers

The Nationals’ struggling offense woke up with a rally in the fifth inning, started by the unlikeliest of sources and punctuated with a big blast from Danny Espinosa.

Alex Cora and Jason Marquis both singled with one out in the fifth inning to put two runners on for Espinosa. He got to a 3-0 count on Yovani Gallardo, and then took two strikes to run it to 3-2. The first strike looked like it could have been ball four, but it worked out well for the Nationals that it wasn’t.

Gallardo put a full-count fastball over the heart of the plate, and Espinosa turned on it, blasting it into the Nationals’ bullpen for a three-run homer that gave Washington a 4-2 lead. It was his second homer of the year, following a three-run blast last weekend in New York.

If the Nationals can get him going at the top of the lineup, it could go a long way toward getting them out of their offensive funk. He has the potential to hit double-digit homers, and he sees enough pitches to be at least a functional leadoff hitter.

It’s 4-2 Nationals headed into the bottom of the sixth. We’ll see if they can hold on for a win against the Brewers.