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Nationals Rally From 6-0 Down For An 11-10 Win Over The Royals: Tanner Roark Saves Nats' Pen

The Washington Nationals trailed 6-0 early and Gio Gonzalez didn't have it, but the Nats' hitters battled back and scored seven runs in the fourth to take an 8-7 lead and then went up 11-7 with a three-run seventh on the way to winning the first of three from the Royals in Kansas City. 11-10 final.

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Denard Span walked in the first at bat of tonight's game, but two outs later he was caught stealing by Kansas City Royals' catcher Salvador Perez for the 6th time in 17 attempts this season and the first out of the opening frame in Kauffman Stadium. Alex Gordon doubled to center on a 2-2 fastball from Washington Nationals' lefty Gio Gonzalez in the first at bat of the bottom of the inning, and he scored when Eric Hosmer hit a 1-0 fastball out to left for a two-run opposite field home run that made it 2-0 Royals early in tonight's game. Justin Maxwell hit a first-pitch fastball out to left-center two outs later and the home team had a 3-0 lead after a 24-pitch, 12-strike first inning by the Nats' starter.

Former Expos' starter Bruce Chen had two scoreless on 27 pitches after a 13-pitch, 1-2-3 second against the Nationals. Another one-time Expo and a National at one point, Jamey Carroll, doubled off the base of the wall in left with one down in the Royals' half of the second inning. Alex Gordon's double to left-center brought Carroll around to make it 4-0 Kansas City. Eric Hosmer followed up on his two-run home run with an RBI single to center that brought Alex Gordon around for a 5-0 lead. With everything going wrong, Salvador Perez reached first safely on an error by Ian Desmond at short on a grounder that should have been good for out no.2 and Billy Butler's RBI single in the next at bat made it 6-0 Royals. After a 5-4-3 DP from Justin Maxwell, Gonzalez was up to 45 pitches and down by six runs at the end of a 21-pitch second.

Anthony Rendon went down for a 2-2 change from Bruce Chen and lined a two-out single to left field for the Nationals' first hit of the game. Denard Span connected for the second in the next at bat, lining to center for an RBI triple that got the Nats on the board, behind by five at 6-1 in Kansas City. Ryan Zimmerman and Bryce Harper took back-to-back two-out walks from the Royals' lefty to load the bases for the Nats' DH, Jayson Werth, but Werth popped out to left to leave three runners on and keep it 6-1 Royals. Gio Gonzalez walked Emilio Bonifacio to start the bottom of the third. Bonifacio somehow avoided a tag by Anthony Rendon on a strong throw to second by Wilson Ramos, then took third on a one-out grounder to first by Alcides Escobar before he was stranded there on a groundout to short by Jamey Carroll. 17-pitch inning for Gio Gonzalez. 62 total after three.

Ian Desmond singled to center on a 1-1 slider in the first at bat of the fourth, but he was forced out at second on a Wilson Ramos' grounder. Adam LaRoche and Tyler Moore followed with back-to-back singles that loaded the bases for Anthony Rendon, and the rookie infielder hit a sac fly to right brought the Nats' catcher and the Nationals' second run in, 6-2. LaRoche advanced to third on the second out of the inning and Denard Span worked a ten-pitch walk out of Bruce Chen to load'em up again. Ryan Zimmerman worked back from 0-2 to a bases-loaded, full count and took ball four inside to force in a run. 6-3 KC. And 6-6 after Bryce Harper doubled to right center to clear the bases and tie the game. Chen out. Right-hander Louis Coleman took over on the mound and gave up a two-run home run to left-center by Jayson Werth that made it 8-6 Nationals after three and a half in Kansas City.

Given an 8-6 lead to work with, Gio Gonzalez returned to the mound in the bottom of the fourth and gave up a leadoff single and Alex Gordon's third hit in three at bats tonight. A walk to Eric Hosmer in the next at bat pushed Gonzalez up to 75 pitches and got movement going in the Nationals' pen. Salvador Perez's single to center cut the Nats' lead in half, at 8-7. Billy Butler lined to center for the first out of the frame and the Nats' turned to the pen and Tanner Roark, who got an inning-ending 6-4-3 out of Justin Maxwell to preserve the Nats' one-run lead after four.

Royals' right-hander Louis Coleman retired the first two batters in the fifth before Anthony Rendon hit a line drive single to center that left him 2 for 2 tonight. Denard Span's groundout to first ending the inning, however, bringing Tanner Roark back out to the mound. Alcides Escobar singled to left with one down, but he was doubled up on a line drive back to Roark off Chris Getz's bat for the second double play in two innings for Roark. 8-7 Nats after five. Nine-pitch inning for Roark.

Royals lefty Tim Collins took over in the sixth and retired Ryan Zimmerman, Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth in order on a line drive to center, called strike three, and pop to first, respectively. Royals' third baseman Jamey Carroll lined out to a leaping Anthony Rendon at second for the first out of the Royals' sixth. Alex Gordon grounded weakly to first for out no.2. Roark gave Eric Hosmer a two-out free pass, but Salvador Perez flew out to deep right where Bryce Harper caught the final out of the sixth inning.

Ian Desmond lined a rope of a single to left in the first at bat of the seventh, then cautiously took third on a Wilson Ramos' fly to center that got over Emilio Bonifacio's head and bounced off the wall for a double. Adam LaRoche took a base-loading walk that ended Tim Collins' night. Tyler Moore singled through the left side of the infield off new pitcher Kelvin Herrera and the Nationals took a 9-7 lead when Desmond scored. Anthony Rendon grounded to second in the next at bat and Chris Getz made an ill-advised throw home that got by Salvador Perez, allowing Wilson Ramos and LaRoche to come in and make it 11-7 Nats. Getz threw home again on a Denard Span grounder to second and got the out this time. Ryan Zimmerman K'd swinging for out no.2 and Jayson Werth went down swinging to end the Nationals' seventh.

Billy Butler battled Tanner Roark for nine pitches before striking out on a 2-2 slider in the dirt. Justin Maxwell flew out to the track in center field. Emilio Bonifacio lined toward center with two down, but Ian Desmond leapt to bring it down for the third out of the inning. Still 11-7 Nats.

Luis Mendoza took over for the Royals in the eighth and retired the Nationals in order in a 12-pitch inning. Tanner Roark came back out for the bottom of the inning retired the Royals in order to complete 4 2/3 scoreless in relief of Gio Gonzalez. Still 11-7 Nationals.

Tyler Moore singled to start the Nats' ninth, but one out later, Denard Span grounded into an inning-ending DP. Drew Storen took the mound in the bottom of the ninth in a non-save situation. Alex Gordon walked to start the inning. Storen fell behind Eric Hosmer, 3-0, but worked the count full only to give up a double to right that put runners on second and third with no one out. Cue his music...

"Pitch it, Soriano! Pitch it, Soriano! Strike him out, Soriano! Strike him out, Soriano!" Rafael Soriano came out of the pen. Salvador Perez's groundout brought in a run to make it 11-8 Nationals. Billy Butler's single to right put runners on first and third. Justin Maxwell stepped in as the tying run and singled to right to bring in two more. 11-10. Emilio Bonifacio flew to short right... where Bryce Harper made an awkward sliding catch for out no.2!!! And Alcides Escoboar flew out to end the game. 11-10 win.

Nationals now 64-64