Washington, DC (Sports Network) - Josh Willingham went 3-for-4 with a solo home run as the Washington Nationals took a 4-3 decision over the Kansas City Royals in the second of a three-game interleague set.
Adam Dunn added a solo homer while Nyjer Morgan and Ryan Zimmerman each drove in a run for the Nationals, who have won the first two games of this series after dropping their previous six. Luis Atilano (6-4) got the win as he gave up just one run on six this with five strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings.
Scott Podsednik drove in all three runs for the Royals, who have lost their last five games. Anthony Lerew (0-1) took the first loss of his career as he was charged with four runs on 10 hits with a walk and two strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings of work.
Holding a three-run lead, Matt Capps came on to close the game, but made the game close. With one out, three straight singles by Alberto Callaspo, Wilson Betemit and Yuniesky Betancourt loaded the bases. Chris Getz then popped out, but Podsednik singled to right to make it a one-run game. Capps, though, got Jason Kendall to foul out and pick up his MLB-best 22nd save of the season.
With two outs in the third, the Nationals took the lead as Cristian Guzman kept the frame alive with a single and Zimmerman followed with a double to the corner in left for a 1-0 lead.
Willingham led off the fourth with a blast over the left field wall. The next three Washington batters reached base to load the bags with no outs. Atilano struck out and Morgan followed with a sac fly to plate Ivan Rodriguez.
With Guzman at the plate, the rain continued to come down and the game went into a delay.
The delay lasted 49 minutes and when play resumed, Guzman grounded out to end the inning with Washington holding a 3-0 lead.
The Royals got a run back in the fifth as Podsednik's sacrifice fly scored Mike Aviles to make it a 3-1 game.
The Nationals got it back in the bottom of the frame on Dunn's 17th home run of the season, a solo shot over the center field wall.
Atilano left the game with a man on base and one out in the sixth and Joel Peralta took over and got Jose Guillen to hit into a double play.
Drew Storen worked a 1-2-3 seventh inning and stayed on for the eighth, but got into trouble.
Getz doubled to start the frame and Podsednik followed with a walk. Tyler Clippard was called out of the bullpen and set the next three batters down in order, with Billy Butler flying out to center to end the inning.
Atilano had lost his previous three starts...The Royals are 5-9 against the National League this year...Guillen, who went 2-for-4 in the game, extended his hitting streak to 17 games, a career high. He is 24-for-67 during the run...Washington has won four straight against Kansas City and seven of the eight meetings all-time...This is the first series between these two teams since 2004, when Washington was located in Montreal and known as the Expos.