Espinosa won dollars 20,000 ( pounds 13,500) and a Mercedes-Benz worth another dollars 42,500 for his day's work, which took him precisely 2hr 10min 04sec.
Germany's Uta Pippig, the 28-year-old former indoor 5,000 metres world record- holder, won the women's race in 2:26:23. Mexico's Olga Appell, 30, was second and Nadia Prasad, of France, a surprise third.
The men's race was the strongest for years in North America. Bob Kempainen, 27, of the United States, was second in 2:11:03. It was the best finish by an American in this race since Ken Martin was second in 1989. Espinosa's compatriot, Arturo Barrios, the former 10,000m world record- holder, was third in 2:12:21.
It was a strong performance by 30-year-old Espinosa considering the temperature, which reached 21C, and the humidity which was 61 per cent by the time the leaders finished.
Espinosa was the surprise runner-up behind another Mexican, Salvador Garcia, in 1991 while last year he was beaten by Willie Mtolo of South Africa.
For Pippig, meanwhile, it was the fifth time in her last six marathons that she had run sub-2:30:00.