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Nationals pound Rays: 16-4 in Tropicana Field on 23-hit night for Nats

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The Washington Nationals jumped out to a 6-0 lead early and kept on pounding the Tampa Bay Rays in what ended up a 23-hit game and a 16-4 win in the second game of two in Tropicana Field. Two more with the Rays in D.C. starting tomorrow.

Brian Blanco/Getty Images

5. Roark vs the Rays: Nationals' righty Tanner Roark was (1-0) in his first two starts after rejoining Washington's rotation, with a 2.45 ERA (3 ER) and a .179/.256/.410 line against in 11 IP. In his last two outings, however, the 28-year-old starter has tired at the end, giving up nine earned runs in 12 ⅓ IP over which opposing hitters have put up a combined .294/.308/.588 line, though four of those nine runs he allowed came in his finals innings of work in each start.

Last time out, Roark gave up nine hits and five runs, all earned in 6 ⅔ IP against Milwaukee in Miller Park, leaving the mound with two down in the seventh, after he'd given up a game-tying solo home run by Gerardo Parra on the 98th offering of his 101-pitch outing.

"Everything was up and they were hitting it. When I get offense like that, we get offense like that and get up 5-1, there's no reason why it shouldn't stay that way..." -Tanner Roark after rough outing in Milwaukee

"He really struggled tonight, to find location, balls up in the strike zone all night," Nats' skipper Matt Williams said after the outing.

"We got some runs via some miscues on their part, but Tanner struggled tonight to find consistency down in the zone and his breaking ball. But we had a chance to win it."

"Everything was up and they were hitting it," Roark told reporters after he and the Nats blew a 5-1 lead in what ended up a 6-5 loss.

"When I get offense like that, we get offense like that and get up 5-1, there's no reason why it shouldn't stay that way and I didn't keep it that way, and it was just bad on my [part]."

Roark received no decision in the Nationals' loss, so he remained (2-0) as a starter this season, with a 4.63 ERA, a 6.45 FIP, four walks (1.54 BB/9), 14 Ks (5.40 K/9) and a .244/.284/.511 line against in four starts and 23 ⅓  IP.

In his first career start vs the Rays, Roark retired the first two batters he faced before Evan Longoria lined a single to center field. A groundout to second by David DeJesus ended the inning, however, after 16 pitches from the Nats' right-hander.

Given a 6-0 lead to work with, Roark gave up a leadoff single to center field on a 1-2 curve to Logan Forsythe. Steven Souza grounded into a force at second but avoided a double play, and moved into scoring position at second on a one-out walk to Asdrubal Cabrera, but Roark got Jake Elmore swinging and Rene Rivera looking to strand two at the end of a scoreless 25-pitch second that left him at 41 pitches.

Evan Longoria singled through the right side with two down in the Rays' third (2 for 2), but David DeJesus grounded out to first to end Roark's third scoreless after 14 pitches. 55 total after three.

Roark retired the Rays in order in a quick, 10-pitch, 1-2-3 fourth, 65 total.

With the score 10-0 Nationals, Rene Rivera hit a one-out double to center in the bottom of the fifth. Rivera took third on a line drive single to center by Kevin Kiermaier. Joey Butler stepped in with runners on the corners and one down and brought in a run with a groundout to second, 10-1. Nick Franklin's broken-bat liner to second ended a 21-pitch frame, 86 total.

Logan Forsythe singled to left with one down in the Rays' sixth, but was forced out at second on a Steven Souza grounder. Asdrubal Cabrera fouled off two two-strike pitches but took a 91 mph fastball for a called third strike and out no.3 of 16-pitch frame that left Roark at 102 overall.

Roark came back out for the seventh and retired the Rays in order in a 10-pitch frame, 112 total.

Tanner Roark's Line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 Ks, 112 P, 69 S, 13/1 GO/FO.

4. Colome vs the Nationals: Alex Colome joined the Rays' rotation on May 1st and won three of his first five starts, but since earning his third win on May 21st, the 26-year-old right-hander, who signed as an amateur free agent out of Santo Dominico in the Dominican Republic in 2007, has gone (0-1) with the Rays 0-4 in his outings, over which he's put up a 3.57 ERA and a .287/.361/.448 line against.

Colome gave up just two runs in 11 ⅓ IP in his last two starts before tonight, after giving up nine hits and five runs in six innings in his one loss in the last three, but Tampa Bay provided him with just three runs of support in 2-1 and 6-2 losses against the Seattle Mariners and LA Angels.

On the year, heading into tonight's outing, the right-hander was (3-2) in nine starts with a 4.21 ERA, a 4.81 FIP, 13 walks (2.49 BB/9), 33 Ks (6.32 K/9) and a .285/.337/.462 line against in 47 IP.

As the Rays mentioned in their pregame notes, before this evening's start, Colome had allowed two earned runs or less in 11 of 15 career starts and shut opponents out in six starts.

In his first career matchup with Washington, Colome gave up a leadoff single by Denard Span and a two-out double to right-center by Bryce Harper, but completed a scoreless 16-pitch frame when Wilson Ramos grounded out to third to end the threat.

Clint Robinson started the second with a 449 ft solo blast to right field that made it 1-0 Nationals. Robinson's second. Danny Espinosa and Michael Taylor bunted their way on in front of Ian Desmond, who K'd chasing a slider out of the zone for the first out of the frame. Denard Span worked a seven-pitch, base-loading walk out of the Rays' starter, and Anthony Rendon worked the count full and walked to force the second run of the game in. Yunel Escobar took a first-pitch fastball through short for a two-run single in the next at bat, 4-0. Bryce Harper took his MLB-leading 54th walk of the year to reload the bases, and Colome fell behind 3-0 to Wilson Ramos before he found the zone. Ramos sent the 3-1 offering to right, however, making it 5-0 with two down. Clint Robinson drove in his second run of the inning with a line drive to right Kevin Kiermaier dove for and missed, but Bryce Harper got thrown out at home to end the frame. 6-0. 43-pitch inning, 59 total after two.

Alex Colome's Line: 2.0 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 2 Ks, 1 HR, 59 P, 33 S, 1/1 GO/FO.

3. Random Game Notes: Denard Span took a 2-2 fastball from Alex Colome through the left side of the infield in the first at bat of tonight's game, improving to 12 for 42 in the first at bat of the 44 games he'd led off in this season.

Clint Robinson's home run reportedly measured 449ft. That is all.

• Ian Desmond struck out on an 0-2 slider in his first at bat of the game, with two runners on and no one out in the top of the second, leaving him 1 for 26 with 15 Ks in the eighth game of the Nats' eight-game road trip.

• Anthony Rendon, who walked more than he K'd in college with 176 walks to 78 Ks and a .502 OBP in 187 games at Rice before he was picked sixth overall by the Nationals in 2011, took a bases loaded free pass from Alex Colome in the second. In two-plus major league seasons, he was 1 for 4 with a double and two sac flies with one out and the bases loaded.

• Could Steven Souza make it 6 for 6 walks vs his former team after walking each time he came up last night? Nope. He grounded into a force at second the first time to the plate, but hustled to avoid a double play.

• With a solo home run to center in the fifth, Bryce Harper tied his previous season-high in home runs, with 22 in 63 games and 267 PAs. He hit 22 in 139 games and 597 PAs in 2012.

• Danny Espinosa collected his career-best fifth hit of the game with one down in the eighth inning. 5 for 5, 3 R.

2. Turning Point(s): Clint Robinson put a charge into a 94 mph 2-2 fastball in his first at bat against Rays' righty Alex Colome in the top of the second, connecting for his second major league home run and putting the Nationals ahead 1-0 with a blast that reportedly traveled 449 ft to right in Tropicana Field.

• The second started with a solo home run to right by Clint Robinson and ended with the Nationals' first baseman for the night doubling in the sixth run of the inning before Bryce Harper was thrown out at home. Rays' starter Alex Colome threw 43 pitches in the inning and was out of the game after struggling to throw strikes and getting hit hard when he did. 6-0 after two.

1. The Wrap-Up: C.J. Riefenhauser took over for the Rays in the third and completed a scoreless frame when Ian Desmond grounded into an inning-ending 6-4-3.

Anthony Rendon backed Kevin Kiermaier up to the 404 ft sign on the wall where the Rays' outfielder caught out no.2 of a scoreless seven-pitch fourth by Riefenhauser.

Bryce Harper got hold of a 1-1 slider that Riefenhauser hung and hit it out to center and onto the net that protects the tank full of devil rays in center field in Tropicana Field. Estimated 449ft to center. 7-0 Nats. Michael Taylor and Ian Desmond both drove in runs with singles and another run scored when David DeJesus lost a fly to left off Denard Span's bat. 10-0.

Enny Romero finished off the fifth and got a double play grounder after a one-out single by Bryce Harper to complete a scoreless sixth.

Clint Robinson was a triple away from the cycle after he lined a leadoff single to right off Romero in the first at bat of the seventh. Danny Espinosa lined a 96 mph, 3-2 heater to right for his fourth hit in four at bats. Ian Desmond walked to load the bases one out later, and after Romero left the game with an apparent injury, right-hander Brandon Gomes took over on the mound and gave up a soft liner to the left-center gap that made it 11-1 Nationals. Anthony Rendon's RBI single to left made it 12-1. Yunel Escobar's sac fly to center made it 13-1.

Jake Elmore played first and third through seven innings and took the mound in the eighth inning.

Wilson Ramos took the IF/RHP deep to center on what was politely called a 77 mph 1-0 changeup, 14-1. Danny Espinosa collected his fifth hit of the night, but was stranded.

Felipe Rivero struck out two in a 15-pitch eighth.

Wilson Ramos hit his second home run off a position player in two innings, a two-run blast to left that made it 16-1 Nationals.

Drew Storen came on for some work in the ninth and put two on in front of Rene Rivera, who hit a three-run home run to left to make it respectable. 16-4 final.

Nationals now 34-31