The Washington Nationals got seven shutout innings from Tanner Roark, trying to break a three-game losing streak. All that good work was laid to rest with one missed call and then one bad pitch in the bottom of the eighth, and the Nats fell to the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 at Chavez Ravine.
The mistake pitch: A center-cut 94 mph fastball that catcher Yasmani Grandal drilled to the seats in center, giving the Dodgers all their runs for the night.
The bad call: A clear strike ruled a ball to the first batter of the inning resulting in Roark's only walk of the night.
Roark was masterful through seven, giving up just four hits to that point. But he walked leadoff hitter Joc Pederson on a very questionable call ruled inside for ball four -- his first walk of the night. Yasiel Puig singled off Espinosa's glove at short, then Roark made his only real mistake -- a center-cut fastball to Yasmani Grandal -- and the catcher hitting .180 drilled it out of the park to straight center for a three-run home run.
Roark allowed six hits and one walk with five strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings, but the one pitch cost him the game.
The loss makes four in a row, matching their longest losing streak of the season.
The biggest culprit in the loss? The Nats went 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position,with the lone hit resulting in Wilson Ramos being thrown out at home in the top of the eighth inning.
Bryce Harper got things going in the first inning, taking a two-out, 2-1 fastball from Scott Kazmir out to left on a line drive for his 15th home run of the season.
The Nats got two-out doubles from Anthony Rendon and Jayson Werth in the second and third innings,but left them both stranded.
Meanwhile, Tanner Roark breezed through the first three innings allowing just one base hit -- Joc Pederson's double off the short wall down the line in right.
In the fourth the Nats got a one-out double from Ryan Zimmerman, who barreled up the ball for the first time in two weeks. He advanced to third on Wilson Ramos' groundout but was left stranded as Rendon grounded out to end the inning.
Leading off the fifth, Danny Espinosa got into a high fastball and drilled it just past Howie Kendrick in left and over the fence for his 13th home run of the season. Roark followed with a line drive to right center for his first hit of the season, a double. Ben Revere grounded to second, and Chase Utley threw across the diamond to nail Roark trying for third for the highly unusual 4-5 putout.
Werth singled and Harper grounded out to move the runners to second and third. Kazmir intentionally walked Daniel Murphy to face Zimmerman with two down, but Zimmerman struck out on a ball in the dirt, extending hit hitless streak with the bases loaded to nine at bats.
Looking to add an insurance run in the eighth, Ramos doubled with one out. After Rendon struck out, Dodgers reliever Louis Coleman walked Espinosa intentionally to face Roark. The Nats' starter came through with a single through the hole on the left side. But Ramos -- an extremely slow runner anyway -- took a bad turn at third and was thrown out by Kendrick from short left field by a wide margin.
It all took a turn for the worse in the bottom half.
WP: Coleman (1-1) LP: Roark (6-5) SV: Jansen (21) HR: Harper (15), Espinosa (13), Grandal (6) E: None.
NEXT GAME: Finale of the three-game series with the Dodgers at 10:10 p.m. Joe Ross (6-4, 3.13) faces Julio Urias (0-2, 4.50).
- Before Tuesday, the Nationals had endured only four skids of three games or more (their longest being four games) this season.
- Thrust into a starting role on short notice on Monday night, Yusmeiro Petit turned in six solid innings of work, holding the Dodgers to three earned runs off five hits and one walk. Petit, who stepped in for Stephen Strasburg (upper back strain), threw as many as six innings for the first time since May 23, 2015. The 94 pitches he threw were his most in an outing since tossing 102 in 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball at the Yankees on Sept. 22, 2013.
- According to STATS, LLC., Petit is the first pitcher this season to save a game and start a game in a four-day span. Petit is just the second Nationals pitcher (2005-present) to accomplish that feat, joining Dan Haren, who started against the Giants on Aug. 15, 2013, picked up a save in an extra-innings contest at the Braves on Aug. 17 and started against the Cubs on Aug. 20.
- With a double in the sixth inning off Clayton Kershaw on Monday, Michael A. Taylor extended his hitting streak in games he starts to 18. Taylor, who is also riding a seven-game traditional hitting streak, is hitting .302 since May 3, with eight doubles, three home runs and eight RBI.
- Taylor put together one of the best games of his young career on Sunday afternoon, going 4-for-4 with two home runs, a double, two RBI and two runs scored at Petco Park. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Taylor is just the third player in franchise history (Nationals/Expos) to produce four or more hits in a game -- including at least two homers -- from the leadoff spot. Taylor joined esteemed company in doing so, adding his name to a list that includes Hall-of-Famer Andre Dawson(1979) and Alfonso Soriano (2006).