Washington Nationals second baseman Danny Espinosa (18) celebrates a 17-5 win over the Baltimore Orioles with catcher Wilson Ramos, left, and Jerry Hairston Jr., right, after a baseball game on Friday, May 20, 2011, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
After struggling through consecutive shutout losses, the Washington Nationals enjoyed a record-setting offensive outburst.
Danny Espinosa homered and drove in five runs, Jayson Werth hit two homers and had four RBIs, and the Nationals had their biggest offensive outing since moving to Washington in a 17-5 rout of the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night.
"We've played good baseball. We just haven't really had too many offensive nights," Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said. "So hopefully this will be the start of something."
If so, Washington certainly got a lot of players involved. Roger Bernadina, Wilson Ramos and Laynce Nix also homered to back a season-high, 19-hit attack. The six homers also set a Nationals record.
"Hopefully, we can build on this and keep it going," Werth said. "Hopefully, this will break us out of what we've been in. We're a lot better team than our record indicates. We have a great lineup and we're going to wind up hitting."
Henry Rodriguez (1-0) worked three scoreless innings for the victory.
The Expos became the Nationals in 2005, after the franchise moved to Washington from Montreal. The Expos' record for runs in a game was 21 at Colorado on April 28, 1996, and their most homers was eight at Atlanta on July 30, 1978.
Espinosa, who entered with a .194 batting average, hit a three-run homer in the second, an RBI triple in the fourth and singled in a run in the fifth. He finished 3 for 4 to raise his average to .209, but fell a double shy of becoming the third Nationals player to hit for the cycle.
"My timing was better," Espinosa said. "Previously, I've been late to everything. It's all timing. I've been working real hard at that. Tonight, I got my foot down and my swing was shorter."
The Orioles lost their fourth straight, and have allowed 30 runs in their last two games and 42 during the skid.
Asked why the slumping Nationals were able to batter Baltimore pitching, Orioles manager Buck Showalter said: "They're major league hitters who are capable of better, just like our guys are. I think it was probably a given they were going to hit better as the season progresses. It's just unfortunate it was against us tonight."
It didn't take long for Washington to get to starter Jake Arrieta (5-2), who walked the first two batters in the second inning before Espinosa homered to right-center off a 2-2 sinker.
The Orioles rallied with two outs in the third to tie the game. Nick Markakis dribbled an infield single, went to third on Vladimir Guerrero's single to center and both runners scored when Matt Wieters' drive to center glanced off the glove of a backpedaling Bernadina at the center-field warning track for a gift double. Luke Scott then singled home Wieters.
Washington went up 6-3 in the fourth. Ramos was hit by a pitch and Espinosa hit a tiebreaking triple off the center-field wall. Jerry Hairston Jr. then singled threw a drawn-in infield to score Espinosa.
Arrieta allowed six runs on six hits, walked three and struck out three.
"Just things, collectively, aren't going very well," Arrieta said. "I'll take the blame for it. I didn't set the tone like I should have. I feel like I could have figured it out, but I guess it's part of the continued learning process on a day where you're not feeling very good at all, you still got to be able to find some way to limit some damage. I wasn't able to do that."
Nationals starter Jason Marquis walked Mark Reynolds leading off the third and Ryan Adams singled for his first major league hit. Felix Pie's double to center scored Reynolds, but Pie was tagged out between second and third, and Adam Jones followed with a sacrifice fly to cut the deficit to 6-5.
In the fifth, Ramos tripled in a run and scored on Espinosa's RBI single before Bernadina and Werth hit two-run homers to make it 12-5. Bernadina's drive to center glanced off a leaping Adam Jones' glove and into the Orioles bullpen.
Marquis worked four innings, yielding five runs on eight hits. He walked three and struck out two.
Notes: Washington's previous best of 15 runs in a game was done twice: July 20, 2008, at Atlanta and Aug. 25, 2009, at the Chicago Cubs. ... Before the game, the Orioles selected Adams' contract from Triple-A Norfolk and recalled OF Nolan Reimold from the same club. LHP Troy Patton was designated for assignment by Baltimore. ... Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said 3B Ryan Zimmerman, on the 15-day disabled list following May 3 surgery to repair a torn abdominal muscle, would report to the team's Viera, Fla., headquarters to begin a rehabilitation program "in the very near future." ... Washington bullpen coach Jim Lett was a minor league roommate of professional wrestler Randy "Macho Man" Savage, who died in an automobile accident in Tampa on Friday morning. The two played at Single-A Tampa, the Reds' Florida State League affiliate, in 1974. Savage, then known as Randy Poffo, hit .232 with nine homers and 66 RBIs in his final minor league season. ... Brad Wilkerson (2005) and Cristian Guzman (2008) are the only Nationals players to hit for the cycle.