Washington sent Tanner Roark to the mound in the second game of three with the Pirates in D.C., and the 29-year-old right-hander tossed eight scoreless on 110 pitches as the Nationals cruised to a 6-0 win, their fifth straight on the year, and their ninth straight over the Pirates in Nats Park.
With Gerrit Cole on the mound for the Pirates, in his first major league start in over a month after he landed on the DL with a right triceps issue, Jayson Werth walked with one down in the Nationals' half of the first, stole second, took third on a Bryce Harper tweener and scored on a line drive to left by Anthony Rendon to make it a 1-0 game after one.
Stephen Drew (No.6) and Danny Espinosa (No. 9) hit back-to-back, one-out doubles to left and right, respectively, in the second with Espinosa's driving Drew in for a 2-0 lead on Cole and Pirates after two.
Roark helped his own cause in the fourth, sending a weak roller toward second with one down and the bases loaded.
Pirates' second baseman Josh Harrison fielded it on the run, but stumbled as he threw to first and sent it by the bag for a two-run error that made it 4-0 Nationals. Jordy Mercer threw home on a weak grounder to short in the next at bat, but Danny Espinosa scored from third ahead of the throw, 5-0.
Cole was out after four innings of work in Nationals Park. A.J. Schugel took over on the mound and gave up a solo shot by Anthony Rendon on a 1-1 two-seamer.
Rendon hit his 10th of 2016 into the visitor's bullpen in left to make it 6-0 Nationals after five.
Stephen Drew was 3 for 3 with three doubles after he lined a two-base hit to right off Jonathon Niese to start the Nats' half of the sixth inning, but he was stranded there three outs later.
Roark was up to 102 pitches total after he retired the Pirates in order in a 12-pitch eighth, and there was no movement in the Nationals' bullpen. He came back out and gave up a single and a HBP before he was lifted.
Blake Treinen took over with two on and no one out and gave up a base-loading single by Andrew McCutchen, but Jung Ho Kang sent a fly to short left for out No. 1, Sean Rodriguez K'd looking for out No. 2 and Josh Harrison grounded back to the mound to end it. Ballgame. 6-0 Nationals.
• Tanner Roark's Line: 8.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 Ks, 110 P, 80 S, 10/4 GO/FO.
Nationals now 56-36
- Pittsburgh's loss last night was just their third in the last 12 games and their fifth in the last 17. Overall on the year, the Pirates were 46-44, seven wins shy of their record at this point last season.
- Washington's win last night left them 40-34 against Pittsburgh in the all-time series (2005-present) between the two teams.
- Last night's win left the Nationals 55-36 overall on the year, which is the third-best record in the majors, behind only the Chicago Cubs (54-35) and San Francisco Giants (57-34).
- Gerrit Cole returned to the mound tonight after a DL stint for a right triceps strain after throwing eight scoreless innings in two rehab starts.
- Cole took the mound 9-1 in his last 11 starts against NL East opponents, with a 1.67 ERA in 75 ⅔ IP in those outings.
- Andrew McCutchen started the night 54 for 156 (.346 AVG) with seven doubles, two triples and 14 home runs in 42 career games against the Nationals with hits in six straight games in the nation's capital.
- Michael A. Taylor hit a two-run home run last night, giving him hits in 21 of his last 24 starts, over which he's gone 28 for 99 (.283 AVG) with eight doubles, four home runs, six walks and six stolen bases over that stretch.
- This Day in D.C. Baseball History: Bryce Harper became the youngest player ever to start for the National League in the All-Star Game.
- In today's Pirates-themed "Fun with Arbitrary End Points" segment: Pittsburgh infielder David Freese is 13 for 42 (.310 AVG) with a double and three home runs... in his last 11 games, going back to June 28th.
- Starling Marte stole the first base of the season off Stephen Strasburg last night, giving the Pirates' outfielder eight stolen bases in his last seven games. He also has hits in his last seven.
Nationals now 56-36