Chicago at Washington

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Chi. White Sox (4-3)1000013027111
Washington (5-2) «00011411x8131

LaRoche leads Nats' home run charge past White Sox

CBSSports.com wire reports
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WASHINGTON -- If Adam LaRoche, Jayson Werth and the rest of the Washington Nationals keep hitting home runs, it'll help cover up other mistakes.

LaRoche ended an 0-for-15 start to the season by going deep in back-to-back at-bats, Werth and Ian Desmond also hit home runs, and the Nationals overcame some sloppiness on the basepaths and from their bullpen to open an early interleague series by holding on to edge the Chicago White Sox 8-7 on Tuesday night.

The Nationals have 10 home runs in their past three games.

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"We've got a really balanced lineup. That's something that we have that most teams don't. It's tough on matchups. It's tough on pitchers, really," Werth said. "There's not really an easy spot in our lineup."

He and LaRoche each hit a two-run shot off Jake Peavy in the sixth, an inning after Desmond went deep.

LaRoche added a solo shot in the eighth off Matt Thornton, Chicago's fifth pitcher. LaRoche had missed the previous two games with a back muscle problem.

"You get into the second week of the season," LaRoche said, "that's never a good feeling to look up there and not have a hit."

Said Nationals manager Davey Johnson: "I wasn't worried about him."

Werth also tacked on an RBI single off Matt Lindstrom for an unearned insurance run in the seventh, part of a stretch in which the Nationals scored in each of their last five innings. That allowed Washington to hold on even though Alex Rios took closer Rafael Soriano deep for a two-run shot with two outs in the ninth. Soriano got Paul Konerko -- who hit a home run earlier -- to fly out to end it and record his third save in four chances.

"Wasn't pretty," Johnson said. "Whew."

Bryce Harper and Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez, who left after five innings and didn't factor in the decision, were thrown out by Rios from right field while trying to stretch early singles into doubles.

Craig Stammen (2-0) got the victory despite allowing a run and three hits in the sixth.

Johnson insisted he isn't nervous about his bullpen.

"It's early in the year. Guys are not throwing like I know they're capable of," he said. "Soriano -- he's not exactly where he needs to be, as far as I'm concerned. He's mostly just throwing fastballs and locating fastballs. He hasn't used much of his other stuff."

But a good offense masked other problems, including Desmond connecting off Peavy (1-1) leading off the fifth on a humid evening with the first-pitch temperature at 81 degrees.

"That's a good lineup and they're going to work you," Peavy said. "It was hot and humid. I mean, I was pouring sweat, losing a lot of fluid and was going through hydration stuff."

With the score 2-2, Denard Span started the sixth with a double. That's when Peavy got a mound visit from bullpen coach Bobby Thigpen, filling in for pitching coach Don Cooper, who missed the game because he went to the hospital with a stomach illness.

Thigpen returned to the dugout, and Werth promptly sent Peavy's next pitch to left for his third home run.

Peavy struck out Harper, but walked Ryan Zimmerman, bringing up LaRoche, who hit a 1-1 pitch near the 402-foot sign in straightaway center to make it 6-2.

"Ran out of gas and didn't have much there," said Peavy, who gave up six runs and nine hits in 5 1/3 innings. "Jayson Werth kind of knew what we talked about there on the mound. That pitch wasn't bad and he looked to do damage, and not hit the ball the other way, and he got us. I didn't have much there for LaRoche and he put a good swing on it."

Konerko answered for the White Sox, hitting a three-run homer off Tyler Clippard in the seventh to pull Chicago to 6-5.

But the Nationals kept adding runs.

"Up and down the lineup," Desmond said, "we're doing great."

Notes

  • White Sox 2B Gordon Beckham left in the third inning with nerve irritation in his left wrist; he said he felt pain after fouling off a ball while batting in the second. He was replaced by Angel Sanchez. Beckham said he got X-rays that showed "there's no structural damage; there's no break."
  • With Thigpen filling in for Cooper, bullpen catcher Mark Salas handled Thigpen's duties.
  • With no DH in an NL park, and a lefty starter on the mound for Washington, White Sox slugger Adam Dunn was out of the lineup -- a rest day he didn't really want. Asked about the different DH rules in baseball's two leagues, Dunn said: "I do have an opinion. But I'd like to keep it to myself, because I like my job." He was on deck when the game ended.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Adam LaRoche (25) snaps an 0-for-15 start with homers in consecutive at-bats in the Nationals' victory. (Getty Images)
Adam LaRoche (25) snaps an 0-for-15 start with homers in consecutive at-bats in the Nationals' victory. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
Chicago

A. Rios
AB 5
R 2
H 3
HR 1
RBI 2
Washington

A. LaRoche
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 2
RBI 3
 

Related Video

Chicago White Sox
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Alejandro De Aza, CF4230110 .250
Jeff Keppinger, 3B-2B5220013 .115
Alex Rios, RF5232003 .407
Paul Konerko, 1B2114200 .136
Dayan Viciedo, LF4010025 .174
    Donnie Veal, P0000000 .000
    Matt Lindstrom, P0000000 .000
    Matt Thornton, P0000000 .000
Alexei Ramirez, SS4010002 .320
Tyler Flowers, C4000032 .263
Gordon Beckham, 2B1000010 .316
    Angel Sanchez, 2B2000002 .000
    Nate Jones, P0000000 .000
    Dewayne Wise, LF1000010 .167
Jake Peavy, P2000000 .000
    Conor Gillaspie, 3B2000020 .375
Totals367116311  
Batting
2B - Alejandro De Aza 2 (2, G. Gonzalez, G. Gonzalez)
HR - Alex Rios (4, Soriano), Paul Konerko (1, Clippard)
SF - Paul Konerko (1)
RBI - Alex Rios 2 (7), Paul Konerko 4 (5)
2-OUT RBI - Alex Rios 2 (3), Paul Konerko 3 (4)
SB - Alex Rios (3, 3rd base off Stammen/Ramos)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Alejandro De Aza 1, Alex Rios 2
DP - Flowers-A. Ramirez, Keppinger-A. Ramirez-Konerko
E - Donnie Veal (1, Throwing)
Chicago White Sox
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Jake Peavy (L,1-1) 5.1966173 5.56
Nate Jones 1010100 8.10
Donnie Veal0000100 0.00
Matt Lindstrom 1100010 0.00
Matt Thornton 0.2311001 9.00
Pitches-Strikes - Jake Peavy 100-68, Nate Jones 19-8, Donnie Veal 5-1, Matt Lindstrom 8-6, Matt Thornton 13-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jake Peavy 2-4, Nate Jones 2-1, Matt Lindstrom 1-0, Matt Thornton 1-1
Batters Faced - Jake Peavy 23, Nate Jones 4, Donnie Veal 1, Matt Lindstrom 3, Matt Thornton 5
Washington Nationals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Denard Span, CF3220100 .304
Jayson Werth, RF4123011 .276
Bryce Harper, LF4020011 .379
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B2101110 .217
Adam LaRoche, 1B4223021 .118
Ian Desmond, SS4121010 .222
Danny Espinosa, 2B4000011 .154
Wilson Ramos, C4020000 .462
Gio Gonzalez, P1010000 .667
   a- Chad Tracy, PH1000011 .100
    Craig Stammen, P0000000 .000
    Tyler Clippard, P0000000 .000
   b- Stephen Lombardozzi, PH0100100 .500
    Drew Storen, P0000000 .000
   c- Tyler Moore, PH1000002 .000
    Rafael Soriano, P0000000 .000
Totals32813838  
a-struck out for G. Gonzalez in the 5th
b-walked for Clippard in the 7th
c-flied out for Storen in the 8th
Batting
2B - Denard Span (2, Peavy)
HR - Jayson Werth (3, Peavy), Adam LaRoche 2 (2, Peavy, Thornton), Ian Desmond (2, Peavy)
SF - Ryan Zimmerman (1)
RBI - Jayson Werth 3 (7), Ryan Zimmerman (4), Adam LaRoche 3 (3), Ian Desmond (2)
CS - Wilson Ramos (1, 2nd base by Peavy/Flowers)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
DP - Desmond-Espinosa
E - Wilson Ramos (1, Throwing)
Washington Nationals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Gio Gonzalez 5411270 0.82
Craig Stammen (BS,1; W,2-0) 1311000 4.50
Tyler Clippard 1233111 6.75
Drew Storen (H,2) 1000020 3.00
Rafael Soriano (S,3) 1222011 9.00
Pitches-Strikes - Gio Gonzalez 99-57, Craig Stammen 18-14, Tyler Clippard 21-12, Drew Storen 10-7, Rafael Soriano 18-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Gio Gonzalez 3-4, Craig Stammen 1-2
Batters Faced - Gio Gonzalez 20, Craig Stammen 6, Tyler Clippard 6, Drew Storen 3, Rafael Soriano 5
Game Information
Attendance - 24412
Game Time - 3:13
Temperature - 81
Umpires - Home - Phil Cuzzi, First Base - Chris Guccione, Second Base - Tom Hallion, Third Base - Ron Kulpa