Black Monday in NFL:

LaRoche, Werth power Nationals past White Sox

The SportsXchange

WASHINGTON -- Jayson Werth entered this season with questions about his wrist, after he missed 75 games last season following a May injury. Adam LaRoche entered Tuesday's game with no hits in his first 13 at bats this season and missed the previous two games due to back issues.

But the Washington sluggers came through in impressive fashion as they combined for three home runs in an 8-7 win against the White Sox in the first game of a three-game series despite only five innings from Nationals' starter Gio Gonzalez.

Both of them hit two-run homers in the sixth -- the third of the year for Werth -- and LaRoche went deep again in the eighth for his first two homers of the year.

"It is never a good feeling" to start slow, LaRoche said. "You get into the second week of the season, that's never a good feeling to look up there and not have a hit. To come back and get into a couple was nice."

"It was a big win for us. We battled," said Werth. "Gio was on the ropes early. He pitched through it and it was good to get the win."

Washington manager Davey Johnson was not worried about Werth and LaRoche early this season.

"Obviously his wrist is not bothering him," Johnson said of Werth. "He is crushing the ball. Adam has been swinging the bat good. He is a smart hitter. He is awful strong. I liked the way he was swinging" despite no hits in 15 at bats before the homers.

"I wasn't worried about it. He is used to slow starts," Johnson said of LaRoche, who fanned in his first two at bats.

Werth and LaRoche hit two-run homers in the sixth against Chicago starter Jake Peavy to make it 6-2 and LaRoche added another homer in the eighth.

"Obviously, the sixth inning got away from us," Peavy said. "It was hot and humid and I just ran out of gas. I didn't have much there. That's a good lineup and they're going to work you. It was just a hot and humid night. I just gave up a few long balls that cost us the game."

Paul Konerko of the White Sox hit a three-run homer in the seventh against Washington reliever Tyler Clippard to make it 6-5 but the Washington bullpen of Drew Storen in the eighth and Rafael Soriano in the ninth closed out the win although Alex Rios hit a two-run homer in the ninth to make it 8-7.

It was the fourth game in a row with a homer for White Sox slugger Rios.

It was the 58th interleague homer for Konerko, who is ranked second behind Jim Thome (64) for the all-time lead in that category.

The Nationals (5-3) are now 4-0 at home while the White Sox (4-3) lost the first interleague game of the season for both teams. Every White Sox game has been decided by three runs or less.

"They were swinging the bat," Ventura said of the Nationals. "They'd get a lead and we'd try to catch back up. They're very talented. When you lose, you always look at the fact that you lose. But we kept battling back and getting close."

Werth had an RBI single to left in the seventh against reliever Matt Lindstrom to score Steve Lombardozzi, who drew a one-out walk as a pinch-hitter, to make the score 7-5.

LaRoche hit his second homer of the game in the eighth against reliever Matt Thornton to make it 8-5.

Werth broke a tie with a two-run homer to left against Peavy (1-1) to give the Nationals a 4-2 lead in the sixth.

Denard Span led off with a hustle double down the right field line and then coasted home on the third longball of the year by Werth, who missed 75 games last year after he fractured his left wrist while making a diving catch May 6 against the Phillies. Ryan Zimmerman then walked with one out and LaRoche followed with a two-run homer to make the score 6-2.

Peavy went five and 1/3 innings and allowed six earned runs and three homers with seven strikeouts.

The White Sox had tied the game at 2-2 in the sixth as reliever Craig Stammen (2-0) came in to pitch for the Nationals. Rios led off with a single, stole second and went to third on a throwing error by catcher Wilson Ramos. Rios then scored as Konerko hit a sacrifice fly to center.

Nate Jones came on to replace Peavy after the second homer by LaRoche in the sixth.

The Nationals took a 2-1 lead off Peavy in the bottom of the fifth when Ian Desmond led off with a home run to left that landed in the back of the White Sox bullpen.

"The ball was flying (out) a little bit," Desmond said.

The White Sox grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first. Jeff Keppinger snapped out of an 0-for-19 slump with a one-out single and later scored on a two-out balk with the bases loaded.

Span led off the fourth with a single and went to third on the second single of the game by Harper, who entered the game hitting .360. Span then scored on Zimmerman's sacrifice fly to right field, making it 1-1.

Gonzalez went five innings and allowed one run on four hits while striking out seven. He left after throwing 99 pitches.

NOTES: The White Sox training staff looked at the left wrist of Gordon Beckham after he struck out swinging in the second. Beckham returned to second base in the bottom of the second, but Angel Sanchez took his spot in the field in the third. The team subsequently announced that Beckham is day-to-day due to nerve irritation in the wrist. ... With his seventh strikeout of the game, Peavy passed Rudy May for 100th on the all-time list with 1,760. ... The White Sox were without pitching coach Don Cooper, who was taken to a Northern Virginia hospital on Tuesday with diverticulitis. Cooper could be back Wednesday, White Sox manager Robin Ventura said before the game. Bullpen coach Bobby Thigpen filled in as pitching coach with bullpen catcher Mark Salas working as the bullpen coach. ... Adam Dunn, who played for the Nationals in 2009-10, was not in the White Sox's starting lineup. "I loved every single day I was here," he said. Ventura said Dunn could be in the starting lineup Wednesday as the White Sox play without a DH in the interleague series. ... The White Sox entered Tuesday 163-120 (.576) in interleague games, the second-best winning percentage behind the Yankees.
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