Rapid Reaction: Nationals 5, White Sox 2

WASHINGTON -- Danny Espinosa drove in two runs, and starter Jordan Zimmermann allowed two runs in seven solid innings as the Washington Nationals beat the Chicago White Sox 5-2 on Wednesday night.

Adam Dunn and Alex Rios each drove in a run for Chicago.

How it happened: The White Sox took a 1-0 lead in the first inning for the second straight night, but couldn’t do much after that. Starter Gavin Floyd began the game well, but the Nationals got to him the second and third times through the order. Floyd blanked Washington in the first three innings, striking out four while doing it. But the Nationals scored five in the next three innings, and he left after 5 1/3. Dunn and Alex Rios each had RBI groundouts, but Chicago couldn’t do anything else. Zimmermann (2-0) gave up the two runs and scattered seven hits in seven innings.

What it means: The home runs have been coming often. But when they don’t, the White Sox don’t seem to find much offense this season. There were no homers in this game, and Chicago now has needed homers to score 20 of its 31 runs. Alex Rios' homer streak ended at four games, one short of the team record. The homer numbers are good, but if you live by the round-trippers, you often die by them, too.

Outside the box: The White Sox again found trouble in the middle innings. Washington’s potent lineup scored a total of six runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings of Tuesday’s win, and the Nationals used the same formula Wednesday night. Floyd got touched up for all five of his runs during those same three innings to put the Sox in a hole they couldn’t climb out of.

Off beat: Extra-base hits are becoming a problem for Floyd. He allowed only four hits in a six-inning effort in his first start against the Kansas City Royals, but two of them were for extra bases. Then, in Wednesday’s loss in Washington, Floyd allowed nine hits in 5 1/3 innings, and five of them went for extra bases. The Nationals banged out three doubles, a triple and a homer to help score five runs off the tall right-hander.

Up next: The White Sox wrap up their three-game interleague series with the Nationals on Thursday, when right-hander Dylan Axelrod (0-0, 0.00) takes on Washington right-hander Dan Haren (0-1, 13.50) as Chicago tries to prevent a sweep.