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Washington Nationals avoid sweep with 7-4 win over Milwaukee Brewers: Tanner Roark = Stopper

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Washington Nationals' right-hander Tanner Roark played the role of stopper again, beating the Milwaukee Brewers for the second time in two starts with run-support via home runs by Bryce Harper, Jose Lobaton and Ryan Zimmerman in a 7-4 win in D.C.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Tanner Roark threw seven scoreless against the Brewers when he faced them in Milwaukee last month, leading Washington to a 3-2 win that snapped what was then a seven-game losing streak for the Nationals.

He followed up on that outing with a seven inning start against the Cincinnati Reds last Friday in which he gave up eight hits and two earned runs in another 3-2 win.

"Tanner, he wasn't real, real sharp," Dusty Baker told reporters after the Nationals' win, "but Tanner is a fighter and a grinder and we've got full confidence in Tanner that he's going to take us deep into the game.

"Tanner, he saved us on the road trip in Milwaukee and he almost saved us tonight but he put us in a position to win."

This afternoon in the nation's capital, Roark was tasked with helping the Nationals stop a two-game slide in the series finale with the Brewers.

His scoreless inning streak against Milwaukee ended in a four-run third, but he earned the decision in what ended up a 7-4 win for Washington.

After a scoreless inning of work in the top of the first, Bryce Harper gave Roark a 3-0 lead to work with, sending a 1-1 change outside from Matt Garza to left and into the visitor's bullpen for a three-run blast, Harper's 18th.

Jose Lobaton hit his second home run of the season and his second vs the Brewers on a 1-1 fastball that he yanked to right for a solo shot and a 4-0 lead.

Milwaukee got right back in the game in the third, however, with five singles and three runs on RBI hits by Scooter Gennett and Jonathan Lucroy making it a one-run game before the Brewers "stole a run" with Lucroy taking off for second with Gennett on third and screeching to a halt when Lobaton threw to second, allowing Gennett to score to tie it up at 4-4.

Ryan Zimmerman walked with two down in the Nationals' half of third, took second on a seriously wild pitch and scored on a ground-rule double to left-center by Stephen Drew to make it 5-4 in the home team's favor.

Zimmerman hit his 12th home run of 2016 in the bottom of the fifth, taking a 1-0 slider to center for a two-run blast that made it 7-4 Nats and ended Garza's outing.

Roark threw a quick, nine-pitch seventh that left him at 99 total with a three-run lead over the Brewers.

Tanner Roark's Line: 7.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 6 Ks, 99 P, 66 S, 5/3 GO/FO.

Sammy Solis gave up a leadoff double and recorded an out before he handed the ball to Shawn Kelley, who struck out Lucroy and Chris Carter to strand the runner he inherited and keep it 7-4 Nats.

Jonathan Papelbon came on in the ninth and worked around a two-out error for a scoreless frame. Ballgame. 7-4 final. On to New York...

Nationals now 51-35

NATS NOTES:

  • Last night's win gave Milwaukee their first win of a season series over the Washington Nationals since 2010.
  • After taking the first two games of the three-game set with the Nationals in D.C., the Brewers are still just 17-23 all-time in Nationals Park.
  • Washington's back-to-back losses left them 50-35, with the third-best record in the NL, behind only the San Francisco Giants (53-33) and Chicago Cubs (52-31).
  • Brewers' left fielder Ryan Braun started the day ranked 5th in the NL in batting average (.322) behind the Marlins' J.T. Realmuto (.325), the Rockies' DJ LeMahieu (.328) and the Nationals' Wilson Ramos (.335) and Daniel Murphy (.349).
  • Brewers' 1B Chris Carter started the day with the 5th-highest home run total in the NL (20), five behind NL leader Kris Bryant of the Cubs (25).
  • Nationals' 2B Daniel Murphy starts play today leading all NL second baseman in doubles (23), RBIs (56) and SLG (.581).
  • Milwaukee shortstop Jonathan Villar leads the majors in stolen bases with 27 so far this season, and the Brewers as a team have an MLB-leading 69 so far in 2016.
  • Milwaukee's win last night left them 15-26 on the road this season. It was the Brewers' second win of a road series in 2016.
  • Matt Garza who faced the Nationals last week in Miller Park, is 1-4 with a 7.01 ERA in nine starts vs Washington in his career, and he's 0-2 in three starts in Nationals Park in his career (18 ER in 7 IP).
  • Tanner Roark is (2-0) with a 2.42 ERA in four games/three starts vs the Brewers in his career. He faced them at home today for the first time since 2014.
  • In today's Nationals-themed "Fun with Arbitrary End Points" segment: Washington's offense, as a group, ranks 1st in OPS (.793), first in OBP (.341) and tied for first in runs scored (168)... since June 1st.

Nationals now 51-35