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Rendon, Ramos homer, Harper doubles as Nationals defeat Brewers 9-5 to win 2nd straight series

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WASHINGTON — Utilityman seized another opportunity in a season of full of them. Washington Nationals star thinks his teammate should get more.

Espinosa, playing Sunday for a third straight game because of third baseman 's minor neck injury, delivered a three-run, go-ahead double in the third inning of the Washington Nationals' 9-5 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers.

The hit gave Espinosa his 36th RBI in his 337th at-bat of a season in which injuries have rendered him more than just an insurance plan for Escobar, shortstop and second baseman .

"He deserves to play," Harper said of Espinosa, who is batting .248 with 12 home runs. "I think all sides of the ball, when he doesn't start for us, it's pretty tough. I think he's a great player. Everybody knows he's a Gold Glove-caliber player at second base."

Rendon homered for a second straight game and also connected for the Nationals, who won a second consecutive series for the first time since they won three straight in late June.

Escobar, who strained his neck colliding with a fan running down a fly ball Friday, is day-to-day and could've played Sunday, manager said. He's batting .305 and the least likely to have his spot taken.

Desmond at short (.229, 15 HR) and Rendon at second (.252, 3 HR) are slightly more vulnerable, though neither would be expected to lose their job to Espinosa.

Sill, Williams praised Espinosa's value to team that will need to produce more consistently on offense to chase down the NL East-leading New York Mets.

"Early in the season he got a lot of at-bats, got his timing, feels good about his swing," Williams said. "In the last couple of days, you've seen hits the other way. And today, the big double for us."

Harper hit two doubles, the first down the third-base line against the shift that helped fuel a four-run fourth inning against (6-14).

(10-8) allowed four runs in 5 2-3 innings to outlast Garza, who allowed seven runs in 4 2-3 innings, his shortest start since May 16, as well as a career high-tying six walks.

"I was just off," said Garza, whose career ERA in eight starts against Washington lifted to 7.17. "There are no words. I attacked and I got too desperate at times and I put myself in holes."

, and homered for Milwaukee.

Washington took a 5-2 lead in the third, scoring four times with two outs.

Rendon walked, Harper doubled and walked on four pitches to load the bases.

's chopped single to the mound scored a run and Espinosa cleared the bases with a double off the very top of the out-of-town scoreboard in right center.

Washington chased Garza in a four-run fifth to make it 9-3. Ramos drove his 10th homer of the season to center off Garza before Rendon's two-run shot off reliever .

"I don't know how many times we haven't had our whole lineup," Harper said of the outburst, before citing center fielder 's expected return. "Denard getting back, it's going to get even better."

THE SIX SPOT

Harper recorded his sixth defensive assist of the year in the first inning, throwing out at second base following his single to the right field warning track.

DAVIS' DRIVES

Davis' eighth-inning shot off reliever was his ninth home run in August and marked his 22nd RBI in the month. Davis, who missed 35 games with right knee injury, has 16 round-trippers this seasons.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: Span (back tightness) and 2B (back spasms) each had three at-bats in their third straight rehab games Sunday afternoon with Double-A Harrisburg. Span started at DH and went 1 for 3, while Uggla was hitless.

UP NEXT

Brewers: RHP (4-7, 4.48) looks for his third consecutive victory Tuesday against Cleveland as Milwaukee begins its final interleague series of the year ag. The Indians will start RHP (1-1, 2.03 ERA).

Nationals: RHP (7-6, 4.22), who has allowed three earned runs in his last three starts, will likely get the nod Tuesday against RHP (9-5, 3.74) and San Diego.

PHOTO: Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Matt Garza (22) throws a pitch during the first inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Nationals Park in Washington, Sunday, Aug. 23, 2015. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Matt Garza (22) throws a pitch during the first inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Nationals Park in Washington, Sunday, Aug. 23, 2015. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

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PHOTO: Washington Nationals Ryan Zimmerman (11) rounds first base after hitting an RBI double during the first inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Nationals Park in Washington, Sunday, Aug. 23, 2015. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
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