Apr 21, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals pitcher Tanner Roark (57) throws during the eighth inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
In a game in which the spotlight was on two of the games youngest stars, Mike Trout and Bryce Harper, veteran players proved to be the difference for the Angels, who defeated the Nationals 4-2 on Monday night.
On the mound, Tanner Roark, pitched the best game of his major league career for the Nationals. The right hander went 6 2/3 innings of shutout baseball, striking out five and allowing seven hits. While he did narrowly escape jams a couple times, he left the game with a 1-0 lead and gave his team a good chance to win it.
The Nationals scored early in the fourth inning without the benefit of a hit. Angels starter Garret Richards walked Denard Span and Bryce Harper before plunking Jayson Werth to load the bases. After a run scored on a fielders choice off the bat of Adam LaRoche, Albert Pujols made a terrific bare handed play on a slow roller to nab Bryce Harper at the dish the very next play. The Nationals had just one hit through seven innings, a third inning single by Jose Lobaton.
The score would remain 1-0 until the eighth inning, when Tyler Clippard suffered his first major implosion of the season. Albert Pujols, after reaching on an Ian Desmond error to open the frame, stole his first base since June 7, 2013 after Ian Stewart struck out. Howie Kendrick rolled a grounder in the 5-6 hole for an infield single. After Brennan Boesch popped to Desmond for the second out, Erick Aybar grounded a base hit hard through the right side for a tie game. Clippard then walked Chris Iannetta, and Angels manager Mike Sciosca sent up Raul Ibanez to pinch hit. Fooled on the first pitch changeup he saw, Ibanez waited back on the next one and drilled a line drive to left center for a three run double and a 4-1 Angels lead.
The Nationals picked up their second run in the ninth inning, when Desmond launched a ball into the Red Porch off of Angels closer Ernesto Frieri. The loss dropped the Nationals to 11-9.