UNDATED (AP) — The Washington Nationals have been a slow-starting bunch following an offseason that had the Nats among the favorites to reach the World Series. The Nats appeared to kick it into another gear Thursday night, spanking Cincinnati 8-1 as Gio (JEE'-oh) Gonzalez and Rafael Soriano combined on a one-hitter.

Bryce Harper hit his eighth home run. Danny Espinosa also went deep for the Nationals, who reached the .500 mark.

In other NL action:

— Pinch-hitter Garrett Jones delivered the go-ahead, two-run double in the eighth inning and Pittsburgh went on to beat Philadelphia 6-5 to complete a four-game sweep. It was the first series sweep in Philadelphia for the Pirates since April, 2003. Gaby Sanchez homered and drove in three for the Pirates who have won three in a row and 10 of their last 13.

— Andre Ethier (EE'-thee-ur) hit a tiebreaking single in the ninth inning and the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the New York Mets 3-2.

— Luis Valbuena hit a tie-breaking solo home run in the ninth inning to lift the Chicago Cubs to a 4-3 win over Miami.

__ Arizona nipped Colorado 3-2. Paul Goldschmidt hit his fifth homer, a two-run shot.

Over in the AL:

— David Ortiz went 3 for 4 with a home run and two RBIs, boosting his batting average over .500 as the Boston Red Sox beat the Houston Astros 7-2 to win their eighth straight series opener.

__ Robinson Cano (kuh-NOH') hit a three-run homer and the New York Yankees used a flurry of early long balls to outslug the Toronto Blue Jays 5-3. Vernon Wells and Francisco Cervelli also connected for the Yanks.

— George Kottaras walked to drive in the go-head run and Alex Gordon followed with a grand slam to give Kansas City an 8-3, 10-inning win over Detroit. Tigers starter Justin Verlander is listed as day-to-day after being forced to leave the game in the seventh inning with what the team says was cracked skin on his throwing thumb.

__ Elvis Andrus and Nelson Cruz each drove in runs to lead the Texas Rangers to a 2-1 win over the Minnesota Twins.

— Chris Sale combined with two relievers on a five-hitter and Adam Dunn homered to lead the Chicago White Sox over the Tampa Bay Rays 5-2.

__Carlos Peguero hit a 451-foot homer in his first at-bat of the season and Kyle Seager had a two-run homer to help the Seattle Mariners beat the Los Angeles Angels 6-0.

__ Baltimore clobbered Oakland 10-2 behind a 15-hit assault. Chris Davis hit his eighth homer.

NEW YORK (AP) — Derek Jeter has no doubt he will return to the New York Yankees this season at the same level that made him one of baseball's most revered players.

The shortstop was in pinstripes Thursday when he spoke at Yankee Stadium for the first time about a new fracture that was discovered last week in the ankle he broke during Game 1 of the AL championship series Oct. 13.

The Yankees are expecting their captain back around mid-July.