Nationals: Tanner Roark Tosses Gem In Win Over Giants

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Jul 28, 2016; San Francisco, CA, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Tanner Roark (57) throws a pitch during the first inning against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kenny Karst-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 28, 2016; San Francisco, CA, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Tanner Roark (57) throws a pitch during the first inning against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kenny Karst-USA TODAY Sports /
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A phenomenal game by Roark on the mound and clutch hitting by the lineup, resulted in a series-opening victory for the Washington Nationals

In their series opener tonight at AT&T Park, the Washington Nationals got to Johnny Cueto early with three runs in second in support of Tanner Roark, who had another strong outing. The bullpen had its issues again, but the Nats hung on to get the win, 4-2.

Danny Espinosa broke a scoreless tie in the second inning with a two-out RBI single to give the Washington Nationals a 1-0 lead. Then, Tanner Roark and Trea Turner hit consecutive singles to extend the lead to 3-0.

San Francisco responded in the bottom of the second inning as Conor Gillaspie grounded into a force out with the bases loaded, which brought Buster Posey home and narrowed the deficit to 3-1. But, Roark got Johnny Cueto to fly out to right to end the inning.

Cueto had a good, but not a great outing for the Giants. He tossed five innings, scattered eight hits, yielded three runs, issued two walks and fanned three batters on 101 pitches (63 strikes) in his third loss of the year. He labored through the second inning, as the right-hander threw a whopping 39 pitches. This was the just third time this season in which Cueto has pitched less than six innings.

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Four innings later, Bryce Harper laced his 12th double of the season to left field against reliever Albert Suarez to score Turner and increase the Washington Nationals lead to 4-1.

Roark was sensational on the mound for the Washington Nationals. He threw seven innings of one-run ball, yielding four hits, issuing three free passes and striking out three on 111 pitches (64 strikes) in his 10th win of the season.

After a scoreless eighth inning by Sammy SolisJonathan Papelbon retired the first batter in the ninth inning, but gave up a single to Brandon Crawford and walked Mac Williamson.

Nats skipper Dusty Baker had seen enough and replaced Papelbon with Oliver Perez. A throwing error by Anthony Rendon on a ground ball hit by Gregor Blanco with the bases loaded allowed Brandon Belt to score and narrowed the gap to 4-2.

Next: Nationals-Giants Series Preview (7/28-7/31)

However, Perez remained calm and struck out the next hitter in Denard Span. Baker went to the bullpen once more, and the move paid off as Shawn Kelley struck out Pagan to convert his fifth save of the year.

Next Game: The Washington Nationals (60-42) will have Max Scherzer (10-6, 2.92 ERA) on the hill in the second game of the series tomorrow while Jeff Samardzija (9-6, 4.22 ERA) will start for the San Francisco Giants (59-43). You can watch the game at 10:15 p.m. ET on MASN.

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