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Harper ejected early, Nats still beat Bucs

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PITTSBURGH (AP) - Tyler Moore hit a three-run homer and Danny Espinosa homered and drove in three runs, leading Gio Gonzalez and the Washington Nationals over the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-2 Sunday.

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Moore homered in the eighth inning off rookie reliever Bryan Morris and broke open a 3-2 game. Moore homered for the first time this year after hitting 10 in 75 games last season as a rookie.

Nationals star Bryce Harper was ejected in the first inning for disputing a checked-swing third strike. He tried to hold up on a 2-2 pitch from Wandy Rodriguez and home plate umpire Bob Davidson pointed to third base ump John Hirschbeck for help. Hirschbeck ruled that Harper had swung.

Harper stood outside the batter's box, stared at Hirschbeck for a few moments and dropped his bat. Hirschbeck then tossed last season's NL Rookie of the Year. It was the first ejection this year for Harper and second of his career.

Starling Marte hit a leadoff homer in the first, his fourth home run in five games for Pittsburgh.

Espinosa's two-run homer in the fourth put Washington ahead for good at 3-1. He also hit a sacrifice fly in the second.

Gonzalez (3-2) allowed two runs and five hits in six innings, walking two and striking out five. He had been tagged for 18 runs and 21 hits in his previous four starts, going 1-2 in that span.

The Nationals won for the fourth time in five games.

Wilson Ramos had three hits for the Nationals. Roger Bernandina, who took over for Harper after the ejection, had two hits after entering the game with only one hit all season in 25 at_bats.

Rodriguez (2-2) gave up three runs and six hits, striking out seven and walking one in six innings.

The Pirates pulled within 3-2 in the sixth when Russell Martin hit an RBI double.

NOTES: Washington CF Denard Span returned to the lineup after sitting out his first game of the season Saturday with a bruised left foot. ... Nationals RF Jayson Werth missed his third straight game with a strained right hamstring but expects to play Tuesday night when Washington hosts Detroit in the opener of a two-game series. Moore subbed for Werth in right for all three games of the series. ... Tests conducted on Pittsburgh RHP Charlie Morton's right arm revealed no structural damage. Morton, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery performed last June, left his rehab start with Triple-A Indianapolis on Friday after three innings with discomfort in his shoulder. He will start playing catch Monday and is tentatively scheduled to throw off a mound during the four-game series against the Mets in New York that begins Thursday. ... The Pirates, like the Nationals, are off Monday then open a two-game home series with Seattle on Tuesday night.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2015
The Associated Press
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