Espinosa and Bryce Harper both homered for the Nationals (11-11), who finished with five extra-base hits - equaling the number they had during the skid. They had 12 hits overall Thursday after batting .169 in the previous six games.
"This is definitely more of what I expect from our team than the last three games," said Espinosa, who had been in a 2-for-18 slump and entered the game batting .155.
"It's been a long time since we've been shaking hands," said manager Davey Johnson, whose team also snapped a six-game home losing streak. "That's more like what we are - good pitching and timely hitting."
Washington could be up against some strong pitching in a matchup with Bailey (1-1, 3.24 ERA), whose only win this year came against the Nationals. In his season debut April 5, the right-hander allowed two hits over six innings in a 15-0 win.
Other than being knocked around by St. Louis in his second start, Bailey is 1-0 with a 0.90 ERA in his other three outings. He has 18 strikeouts over his last 14 innings, yielding two runs.
Zimmermann's turn in the rotation did not come up in these teams' series earlier this month, and Cincinnati (13-10) probably didn't mind.
Zimmermann (3-1, 2.67) was sharp in his two starts against the Reds last season, going 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA. He has a 0.71 ERA in two career home starts versus Cincinnati.
After throwing 103 pitches in a six-hitter against Miami on April 15, Zimmermann labored against the New York Mets on Sunday, needing 96 pitches to go five in a 2-0 loss. He exited after giving up two runs, two hits and three walks - the same number he issued through his first three starts. He threw a season-high 36 balls.
"I fell behind guys, didn't throw a lot of first-pitch strikes," the righty said. "Without first-pitch strikes, you have to work a little harder."
Zimmermann has limited Jay Bruce to one hit in 11 at-bats, but Votto is 4 for 8 with a homer.
The Reds have been scuffling at the plate, managing four total runs in dropping two of three. They had averaged 5.8 runs in winning seven of their previous eight.
Cleanup hitter Brandon Phillips is hitless in 10 at-bats in the last three games while Bruce is 1 for 10 with five strikeouts.
Shin-Soo Choo was 0 for 3 on Friday but walked in the ninth inning and has reached base safely in his first 22 games this season. The leadoff hitter has scored 18 times and leads the majors with a .523 on-base percentage.
|April 22, 2013||Jonathan Broxton||Day-to-Day||Bruised right hand|
|April 20, 2013||Zack Cozart||Day-to-Day||Left game - bruised right hand|
|April 20, 2013||Ryan Hanigan||15-Day DL||Strained left oblique|
|April 14, 2013||Johnny Cueto||15-Day DL||Strained right lat|
|April 13, 2013||Johnny Cueto||Day-to-Day||Right triceps injury|
|April 08, 2013||Sean Marshall||15-Day DL||Left shoulder tendinitis|
|April 18, 2013||Ryan Zimmerman||15-Day DL||Strained left hamstring|
|April 16, 2013||Bryce Harper||Day-to-Day||Flu-like symptoms|
|April 16, 2013||Denard Span||Day-to-Day||Flu-like symptoms|
|April 14, 2013||Wilson Ramos||15-Day DL||Strained left hamstring|
|March 22, 2013||Christian Garcia||15-Day DL||Strained right forearm tendon|
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Jordan Zimmermann watched Gio Gonzalez pitch a gem for Washington, and just followed his lead.
Zimmermann was terrific in his first career shutout and the Nationals limited the Cincinnati Reds to one hit for the second straight game in a 1-0 victory on Friday night.
Zimmermann (4-1) struck out four and walked one while improving to 3-0 with a 1.36 ERA in five career games against Cincinnati. The right-hander needed only 91 pitches to record his second complete game of the season and No. 3 for his career.
Washington won Thursday night when Gonzalez pitched eight crisp innings in an 8-1 victory. Joey Votto homered for Cincinnati's only hit in the series opener.
"They were swinging early just like tonight," Zimmermann said. "I just saw that, and I figured if I did the same, I'd get the same results."
It was the first time the Reds managed just one hit in consecutive games since July 5-6, 1900, against Brooklyn, according to research by the Elias Sports Bureau that the team provided. The Houston Astros from Sept. 14-15, 2008, were the previous major league team with such a streak.
"My guys, if they attack hitters like the last two days, it's going to be a problem," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. "I don't care, good-hitting team, bad-hitting team."
Xavier Paul led off the third with a single to center for Cincinnati's only hit off Zimmermann. The other baserunners came when Todd Frazier reached on an error by first baseman Adam LaRoche in the fifth and Corky Miller walked in the eighth.
"We had quite a few pitches to hit," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "We just didn't find any holes. We've just got to keep swinging. We didn't do a bunch of striking out, we put the ball in play. He was good tonight, but we didn't find any holes."
Johnson said Zimmermann earned the right to finish the game.
"Low pitch count, really went after them," Johnson said. "Never had any qualms at all about letting him (finish)."
Zimmermann admitted that he glanced at the scoreboard to see how many pitches he had thrown. He noticed he was at 60 after six, so he thought he could go on.
"I don't care about strikeouts. I don't want to walk anyone," Zimmermann said.
Homer Bailey (1-2) was nearly as good as Zimmermann, pitching seven crisp innings for the Reds. He allowed one run and six hits, struck out six and walked none.
The Nationals' only run came in the third. Bryce Harper tripled to right and scored on Jayson Werth 's single to right.
Harper was able to enjoy two excellent pitching performances.
"It was incredible. That's what we expect from our pitchers. We're used to that," Harper said.
Zimmermann improved to 8-0 with a 3.02 ERA in his last 14 regular-season home starts.
The Reds have scored just four runs in the last four games.
"Things go in streaks and sometimes there's no explaining why," Baker said. "We went through this last year. There was a streak when you couldn't buy a run and another streak when you get all the runs you need or want, or even more than you want. Right now we're in that can't buy a run phase."
NOTES: The Reds placed LHP Manny Parra on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left pectoral muscle and activated LHP Sean Marshall from the DL. ... LaRoche was hitless in three at-bats. He's mired in an 0-for-19 slump. ... Baker said RHP Johnny Cueto , on the disabled list with a pulled muscle in his back, is not close to returning. ... Johnson said he hopes 3B Ryan Zimmerman , on the DL with a hamstring strain, will soon be able to go on a rehab assignment. He could be reactivated next weekend. Rookie Anthony Rendon , who was called up to play third while Zimmerman was out, was on the bench for the second straight games. He's just 2 for 15. ... Cincinnati OF Shin-Soo Choo did not reach base for the first time this season after reaching safely in his first 22 games with the Reds.