Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 8/19/12

WASHINGTON -- Danny Espinosa and Bryce Harper both homered, and starter Gio Gonzalez earned his 16th victory as the Washington Nationals scored a 5-2 victory over the New York Mets on Sunday afternoon.

Gonzalez improved to 16-6, although he struggled at times during his 5 2/3 innings. He never got the side out in order and gave up one run on seven hits while needing 110 pitches.

The left-hander now is tied with Johnny Cueto of Cincinnati for the most wins in the National League.

Gonzalez got help from relievers Craig Stammen and Michael Gonzalez before Tyler Clippard closed it in the ninth for his 27th save.

The game began after a rain delay of two hours, 26 minutes, and Washington (75-46) bounced back after the Mets blanked them Saturday night. This victory increased the Nationals' lead over the Braves to five games in the National League East, as Atlanta lost to Los Angeles earlier in the day.

Washington took some pressure off Gonzalez with four early runs that the Mets (57-64) weren't able to answer.

The Nationals took a 2-0 lead in the second when Espinosa lined an 0-1 pitch into the New York bullpen in left field. That shot also scored Michael Morse, who led off the inning with a single off starter Jeremy Hefner (2-5).

Washington made it 4-0 in the third. Jayson Werth led off with a single and scored when Harper tripled to center. Ryan Zimmerman followed with an RBI single to left that New York's Jason Bay just missed catching.

Bryce Harper then led off the fifth with a home run to right for a 5-0 lead.

New York scored a run in both the sixth and eighth. In the sixth, Ike Davis doubled and later came in on a Bay ground-out.

Kelly Shoppach's RBI single in the eighth made it 5-2, scoring Ronny Cedeno, who doubled off Michael Gonzalez.

The Mets came up with plenty of chances as they finished with 11 hits. But they couldn't get with key hits, going 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position. They also left 10 on base.

Notes: Espinosa's homer was his third in the last five games as the second baseman's gotten hot in the second half of the season...The Nationals are 14-5 in August. They are the only team in the majors to have a winning record in every month so far this season...Jon Rauch threw two-thirds of an inning of scoreless baseball for the Mets in Saturday's 2-0 win over Washington. Rauch has given up just one run stretching over his last 21 appearances - over a total of 15 innings...That victory was the 50th time in franchise history where the Mets won a game despite getting three hits or less. The Mets finished with just three hits in that win, as Davis hit a two-run homer for all of the offense...Pinch-hitter Daniel Murphy was ejected by home plate umpire Jordan Baker in the eighth inning.

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