Jul 19, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Tanner Roark (57) throws during the third inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Tanner Roark Cruises Behind Early Lead

Tanner Roark (9-6) quieted the Brewers’ bats, Ryan Zimmerman and Wilson Ramos brought theirs, and the Nationals won their first game since the All Star break, defeating Milwaukee 8-3 in a game never truly in doubt.

Matt Garza (6-7) started for the Brewers, but he lasted just 1/3 of an inning as the Nats touched him for five runs on five hits and two walks.  Not surprisingly, Saturday’s game was the shortest of Garza’s career.

Zimmerman drove in the game’s first two runs in the bottom of the first, singling home Denard Span and Jayson WerthIan Desmond’s infield single scored Adam LaRoche, and then Wilson Ramos’ single plated Zimmerman and Bryce Harper.  Ramos was Garza’s last batter as he was relieved by Marco Estrada.  Estrada retired Roark and Span without allowing another run in the inning.

After the Brewers scored in the second, the Nats added single runs in the third, fourth, and sixth with RBI singles by Ramos and Zimmerman and a LaRoche sacrifice fly.

Roark tossed seven strong innings, allowing the one run on six hits and a walk while striking out five.  It is the second straight game that Roark has thrown seven innings while allowing six or fewer hits and just a single run.  Roark lowered his ERA to 2.91, which is currently 12th in the NL, just behind Cole Hamels of the Phillies.  For the season, Roark has now allowed two or fewer runs in 13 of his 19 starts.

Jerry Blevins pitched the eighth, and he promptly served up Ryan Braun’s 12th home run on the season, a two-run shot to left.  Ross Detwiler pitched a perfect ninth, striking out two.  It is Detwiler’s fourth straight appearance without allowing a run, tied for the longest such streak of the season for the reliever.

As a team, the Nats recorded 12 hits on the night with each regular getting at least one.  Zimmerman and Ramos drove in three runs each.  Ramos finished his night 3-for-4.  Zimmerman, Werth, and Span had two hits each with Werth doubling twice.  Both Werth and Harper each scored two runs.

14 of Werth’s 18 hits in the month of July have been for extra bases.  Entering the game, his OPS for the month was 1.381.  After hitting his 29th double on the season in the eighth, Span is now third in the NL.  Span has also recorded at least one hit in 13 of his last 14 games.

Ramos made two errors on the night, his first two on the season.

With the Braves losing 2-1 against Philadelphia, the Nats are once again tied atop the NL East with Atlanta.

The Nats look to take the series tomorrow afternoon with Gio Gonzalez (6-5) facing off against Yovani Gallardo (5-5).

Tags: Tanner Roark Washington Nationals

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