Espinosa blast lifts Nats over Sox 2-1. Inter-League Series streak ends at 17

John McLaren couldn’t have asked for a better sendoff.Danny Espinosa hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning to lift the Nationals to a 2-1 victory over the White Sox on Sunday in his third and final game as Washington’s manager.The Nationals announced that they had hired Davey Johnson as the replacement for Jim Riggleman, who resigned Thursday, ending McLaren’s tenure after one series — which his team won as he got to manage against a good friend in the other dugout.

“This series was a lot easier for me because I was managing against Ozzie. I love Ozzie Guillen, he’s a great baseball man and a great person.”

The 68-year-old Johnson, a senior adviser for Washington, will take over Monday against the Angels and then manage the rest of the season. It’s his first major league managing job since 2000 with the Dodgers.Phil Humber (7-4) carried a no-hit bid into the sixth, but a two-out walk in the seventh was followed by Espinosa’s 14th home run, handing Humber his first loss since April 30.Espinosa barely missed a home run on the first pitch of the at-bat, hooking a changeup down the right field line. Two pitches later, Humber left a slider up and Espinosa didn’t miss.Livan Hernandez (5-8) struck out a season-high nine as he baffled the White Sox for 6 2/3 innings, allowing one run and eight hits to earn his first road victory of the year.Paul Konerko hit an RBI single in the third.Following a walk to Michael Morse in the seventh, Espinosa launched a shot into the right-field seats off Humber to give Washington a 2-1 edge.Humber didn’t allow a baserunner until he hit Roger Bernadina with a pitch leading off the fourth. After Jayson Werth was called out on strikes, Ryan Zimmerman hit into an inning-ending double-play.Jerry Hairston Jr. broke up Humber’s no-hitter leading off the sixth with a line-drive single into center field. He advanced to third on a pair of groundouts, but was stranded there when Werth grounded out.Humber allowed two runs and three hits in 6 2/3 innings. He had won four straight starts and was 5-0 over his last seven outings. The surprise ace this year, Humber worked into the seventh inning for the 10th time in 11 starts.Hernandez left with two outs in the seventh and a runner aboard in favor of Tyler Clippard, who watched Paul Konerko’s potential go-ahead home run get knocked down by the wind on the warning track in left-center.Drew Storen worked a perfect ninth to earn his 19th save in 22 chances and give the Sox their first interleague series loss since June 2008, when they were swept by the Cubs. The White Sox had won 17 consecutive interleague series since then.The White Sox broke got their run in the third on Konerko’s RBI single. Omar Vizquel slapped a base hit to left field with one out and Carlos Quentin hit a ground-rule double over Bernadina’s head in center to set the table for Konerko, who has driven in 23 runs in his last 24 games.Adam Dunn struck out with runners on second and third to end the first inning and stranded another pair with a strikeout in the third as he continued to be showered with boos by his home crowd. Dunn whiffed four times on the day and has 100 strikeouts this season.The White Sox stranded nine and went 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position.Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo confirmed Sunday that Johnson will take over as manager. He has also managed the Mets, Reds and Orioles over 14 seasons and compiled a 1,148-888 record. He won a World Series title in 1986 with the Mets.Johnson agreed to a three-year consulting contract through 2013 that will allow him to remain with the team and help select a successor for next season. It could even be him.

NOTES—The White Sox placed LHP John Danks (strained right oblique) on the 15-day disabled list and purchased the contract of LHP Hector Santiago from Double-A Birmingham…..Johnson was scheduled to fly into Chicago on Sunday to travel with the team to Los Angeles….Werth went 0 for 4 and gave his bat to a fan in the stands after his second strikeout in the eighth.

Leave a Reply