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Nationals 7, White Sox 4

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WASHINGTON -- Dan Haren, the Washington starting pitcher, scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch in the fourth and Ryan Zimmerman added a two-out, two-run double later in the inning as the Nationals beat the Chicago White Sox 7-4 Thursday to sweep the three-game series.

Before an announced crowd of 24,785 on a windy night, Haren (1-1) went five innings and allowed 10 hits and three earned runs but got the victory in his first home start for the Nationals, who are 7-2 as the first-place Atlanta Braves come to town Friday to begin a three-game series. The Nationals are now 6-0 at home this season.

Chicago (4-5) heads to Cleveland after starting pitcher Dylan Axelrod (0-1) needed 40 pitches to get out of the first inning against a well-balanced Washington lineup that hit four homers Tuesday and had five extra-base hits Wednesday.

The White Sox pulled to within 6-4 in the sixth against reliever Ryan Mattheus, who gave up an RBI double off the wall in left by Adam Dunn but then struck out Paul Konerko to end the threat.

Mattheus then retired all three batters in the seventh, two on strikeouts. Washington reliever Tyler Clippard set down all three White Sox batters in the eighth and closer Rafael Soriano retired Chicago in the ninth to seal the win.

Bryce Harper (two hits, two walks) added an RBI single in the last of the eighth to give the Nationals a 7-4 lead. Jayson Werth, who reached on a hit by pitch, was thrown out at third to end the inning.

Washington took the lead 4-3 in the fourth as Haren led off with a double and scored on a wild pitch by Axelrod with Harper at the plate.

The White Sox then gave an intentional walk to Harper and Zimmerman followed with a two-run double to right to score Jayson Werth, who had singled, and Harper to make it 6-3. That was the end of the night for Axelrod (six earned runs in 3 2/3 innings) as reliever Hector Santiago retired Adam LaRoche to end the rally.

Chicago pulled to within 3-2 in the fourth as Conor Gillaspie led off with a single and later scored on a single by leadoff man Alejandro De Aza, who was celebrating his 29th birthday.

Jeff Keppinger then singled to score pitcher Axelrod, who had reached on an infield single, to tie the game at 3 against Washington starter Haren, who allowed four homers in a 15-0 loss Friday at Cincinnati.

Washington had taken the lead in the third as Harper singled in Denard Span to make it 2-1. Harper came around to score on a sacrifice fly by Ian Desmond to make it 3-1 against Axelrod, who needed 40 pitches to get out of the first.

The White Sox had tied the game at 1-1 in the second as Konerko singled, went to third on a double by Gillaspie and scored as Tyler Flowers grounded out to short for the second out against Haren.

The Nationals took a 1-0 lead in the first as LaRoche hit a two-out single to left to score Werth, who had singled with one out, stole second and went to third on a throwing error by Flowers.

Chicago's Alex Rios, who entered the game hitting .419, hit a double in the first to give him a hit in all nine games this season and a 15-game hitting streak dating back to last season.

NOTES: The Nationals began the night 5-0 at home and were the first team in Washington franchise history (since 1900) to begin the year 5-0 at home. ... Washington began the game with a team slugging average of .518, the best in the Majors, and 49.3 percent of the team's hits were for extra bases. ... For the third game in a row, the White Sox were without pitching coach Don Cooper, who was taken to a Northern Virginia hospital on Tuesday with diverticulitis. Once he is released he will recuperate at his home in Nashville and miss the rest of the road trip. Bullpen coach Bobby Thigpen filled in as pitching coach, with bullpen catcher Mark Salas working as the bullpen coach. Curt Hasler (pitching coordinator for the White Sox) will join the team in Cleveland on Friday to assist in the bullpen. ... Chicago second baseman Gordon Beckham was unavailable and is day-to-day because of nerve irritation in his left wrist. He left Tuesday's game in the third inning. ... Washington Wizards guard John Wall threw out the first pitch.
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