Zimmerman, LaRoche homer as Nats pound Braves

Espinosa plays key role in win, hustling around bases to score pair of runs

Zimmerman, LaRoche homer as Nats pound Braves

VIERA, Fla. -- Danny Espinosa had his best game of the spring as he helped the Nationals defeat the Braves, 8-2, at Space Coast Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Espinosa went 1-for-2, including a walk, and was involved in two of the runs. Espinosa scored the second run of the game on a fielder's choice by Denard Span, coming in all the way from second on the play.

With the score tied at 2 in the fourth inning, Espinosa led off with a walk, stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch by Juan Jaime. After Eury Perez reached base on an error by shortstop Andrelton Simmons, Chris Snyder hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Espinosa.

In the fifth, Ryan Zimmerman hit a two-run homer and Adam LaRoche followed with a solo shot off former Nats reliever Yunesky Maya.

Left-hander Ross Detwiler started for Washington and pitched two-plus innings, allowing a run on six hits. The run scored in the first when Simmons came around on a single by Evan Gattis.

Right-hander Taylor Jordan was outstanding for the Nats, allowing a run in three innings and striking out six. The run scored in the fourth on Jose Yepez's RBI single, plating Matt Lipka.

David Hale started for Atlanta, allowing two runs on four hits over two innings.

Up next: The Nationals return to Space Coast Stadium in Viera, Fla., on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. ET on MLB.TV and MLB Network to play the Cardinals for the second consecutive game. Stephen Strasburg will make his second start of the spring. In his last start against the Braves, Strasburg pitched two shutout innings, allowed one hit and struck out one.

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.