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Nationals drop 4-2 decision to Twins: Tanner Roark sharp in tune-up for WBC start

Tanner Roark tossed four scoreless in his last start before he takes the mound for the U.S. in the WBC, but the Nats dropped a 4-2 decision to the Twins in West Palm Beach.

MLB: Spring Training-Minnesota Twins at Washington Nationals Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The next time Tanner Roark takes the mound, he’ll be pitching for the United States in the WBC in front of 37,000 fans in a sold out Marlins Park in Miami on March 11th.

This afternoon, in West Palm Beach, Florida’s Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, in Roark’s second outing of the Grapefruit League season, the Washington Nationals’ 30-year-old right-hander took on the Minnesota Twins, tossing four scoreless, striking out three in what ended up a 4-2 loss for the Nationals.

Here’s how it happened:

Roark worked around a two-out single and passed ball in a 14-pitch first, then retired the Twins in order in the second and third innings.

He came back out for the top of the fourth and worked around a one-out double for a fourth scoreless frame, finishing his outing after 57 pitches (37 of them strikes), with three Ks total and two hits allowed.

Roark will face the Dominican Republic in Miami the next time he takes the mound, pitching for the U.S. in the WBC.

Twins’ left-hander Hector Santiago gave up a double by Anthony Rendon, a single by Adam Eaton and a walk to Ryan Zimmerman in the home-half of the second, loading the bases with one out in front of Derek Norris, but Norris and Brian Goodwin both went down swinging to leave’em loaded and keep it 0-0 after two.

Neal Cotts allowed a single and a walk to the first two batters he faced in the fifth, then retired the next three batters in order to complete a scoreless frame, still 0-0.

Shawn Kelley, in his second appearance of the Spring, issued a two-out walk to Vargas and scored from first on an RBI double by former Colorado Rockies’ first baseman Ben Paulsen, on which Nationals’ outfield prospect Andrew Stevenson made a diving try to make what was described by Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler as an all-or-nothing catch but came up empty. 1-0 Twins.

Blake Treinen dialed it up to 98 on TBofPB’s radar gun, which C&D joked had seemed to be slow before the right-hander took the mound, and struck out two of the three batters he faced in a 1-2-3 frame.

Perennial Grapefruit League batting title contender Michael A. Taylor put the Nats up 2-1 in the bottom of the seventh, working the count full against Twins’ righty Justin Haley and doubling to left to bring Rafael Bautista in from first base to tie things up at 1-1, then stealing third and scoring on an RBI single by Pedro Severino to make it a 2-1 game in the Nationals’ favor.

Taylor improved to 1 for 2 on the day and 7 for 17 this Spring (.412 AVG) with the double.

Sammy Solis, who waited out a long delay when the home plate umpire was replaced mid-inning, gave up a one-out single by Zack Granite, threw a wild pitch that allowed Granite to take second, and after a groundout moved the runner to third, threw yet another wild one that brought the tying run in, 2-2.

A walk and two-run home run by Matt Hague followed as the Twins took a 4-2 lead.