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Nationals blow late lead, drop 5-4 decision to Cardinals: Tanner Roark impresses in Spring debut...

Washington blew a late lead in what ended up a 5-4 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals, but Tanner Roark impressed in his first start of the Spring for the Nationals.

MLB: Washington Nationals-Workouts Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Tanner Roark, in one of two Grapefruit League tune-ups he will get in before he takes the mound for the U.S.A. in the WBC, tossed three scoreless vs St. Louis this afternoon in what ended up a 5-4 Nationals’ loss to the Cardinals in Jupiter, Florida’s Roger Dean Stadium.

Roark needed just 37 pitches to get through his outing, striking out four and holding Cards’ hitters to just two hits.

He told reporters after the win that he was informed that he’ll pitch in the 2017 World Baseball Classic on March 11th against the Dominican Republic:

Three straight one-out singles in the second inning, (by Chris Heisey, Jhonatan Solano and Derek Norris, respectively), got the Nats on the board early this afternoon, with Norris driving Heisey in for a 1-0 lead, and after Jhonny Peralta drove in a run with a sac fly in the fourth, 1-1, Nationals’ shortstop Trea Turner homered in the top of the fifth to put Washington back up, 2-1.

Brandon Snyder added to the Nationals’ lead with an RBI single in the sixth, but the Cardinals rallied with two down in the eighth, scoring four runs with Braulio Lara (2 H, 3 ER in 23 IP) and Dustin Antolin (2 H, 1 ER in 13) on the mound as the home team rallied for a 5-4 win.

Trea Turner went 1 for 3 with the home run in the loss.

Anthony Rendon was 2 for 3 on the afternoon.

Nats’ prospect Andrew Stevenson, who came on as a defensive replacement for Adam Eaton, went 2 for 2 with two runs scored.

NOTE: Tomorrow afternoon’s game will be broadcast live on MASN at 1:05 PM EST for all those who haven’t been able to follow the last two games, which were radio-only broadcasts.

The Nationals and Houston Astros will play the first game in the new Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, their shared Spring Training home.