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Nationals 8-5 Over Astros In Space Coast Stadium: Bryce Harper, Wilson Ramos Homer In Win

Doug Fister wasn't on the mound this afternoon when the Washington Nationals took on the Houston Astros in Space Coast Stadium. Tanner Roark got the start when right elbow inflammation led to Fister being scratched. The Nats beat the 'Stros 8-5 today.

Brian Blanco

Tanner Roark started today in place of Doug Fister, who was scratched with what Washington Nationals' manager Matt Williams told reporters this morning was right elbow inflammation.

Roark made his first start of the spring four days back, throwing two scoreless innings against the New York Yankees in Tampa, Florida's George M. Steinbrenner Field. This afternoon in Viera, Florida's Space Coast Stadium, the Nats' 27-year-old right-hander faced the AL West's Houston Astros.

Houston first baseman Marc Krauss lined a 2-1 pitch from Roark to right field for a two-out single in the top of the first and Chris Carter singled to right-center, putting runners on the corners for left fielder Jesus Guzman, but a flyout to Bryce Harper in left ended a scoreless inning of work for the Nats' starter.

Roark had a 6-0 lead when he retook the mound in the second...

Denard Span singled and scored in the bottom of the first with an Ian Desmond double sending him first to third and a wild pitch from 24-year-old left-hander Brett Olberholtzer allowing him to come in. Bryce Harper followed with a two-run blast to right and the Nationals took a three-run lead early.

An error on a Ryan Zimmerman grounder to short and a single by Adam LaRoche put two runners on for Nationals' catcher Wilson Ramos and the 25-year-old backstop hit what Nats' play-by-play man Charlie Slowes described as a "titanic blast aided by the wind" which cleared the left field fence and then some, making it 6-0 Washington after one inning of play.

Astros' third baseman Marwin Gonzalez singled with two down in the top of the second, but Roark got Jonathan Villar looking to end his second scoreless inning of work.

Marc Krauss was 2 for 2 today vs Roark after the Astros' infielder hit a home run to left-center on what was the Nats' starter's final pitch of the outing. 48/49 pitches total (depending on the source) for Roark in 2 2/3 IP.

Christian Garcia came on to get the final out of the inning.

The Astros scored two runs on the Nationals' 28-year-old right-hander in Garcia's second inning of work with a sac fly by Marwin Gonzalez and an RBI single by Robbie Grossman cutting the Nationals' lead to three runs after three and half innings, 6-3.

Rafael Soriano made his Grapefruit League debut in the fifth inning, giving up a one-out single by Marc Krauss and a two-out single by Jesus Guzman. Carlos Corporan then drove both runners with a two-out double off the Nats' 34-year-old closer that made it 6-5 Nationals after four and a half innings.

19-pitch inning for Soriano, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 K.

Zach Walters was 7 for 8 so far this spring after he drove in two runs with a single to left off Astros' RHP Josh Zeid in the Nationals' half of the sixth inning. 8-5 Nationals.

Jerry Blevins got two outs in the seventh before handing the ball off to Luis Ayala, who got Astros' prospect Carlos Correa looking to end the top of the inning. Ayala came back out for a quick 1-2-3 top of the eighth inning.

Big lefty Tyler Robertson took over in the top of the ninth and gave up a leadoff walk, which was, however, erased on a 4-6-3 DP off Astros' outfielder Adron Chambers' bat. A swinging K from Ronald Torreyes ended the game.

8-5 final. Nationals win.