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Nationals drop third straight, 4-3 Phillies in series opener in Citizens Bank Park...

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Tanner Roark was better this time around against the Nationals’ NL East rivals, but the Phillies took the series opener in Citizens Bank Park, 4-3.

Washington Nationals v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Philadelphia Phillies’ right-hander Aaron Nola dominated the Washington Nationals over 7 23 innings tonight in Citizens Bank Park, giving up five hits and one earned run in what ended up a 4-3 win, which extended the starter’s personal unbeaten streak to seven straight starts.

Roark’s adjustments: Tanner Roark couldn’t get through the fifth last time out against the Phillies during the series in D.C., and he spent the rest of that game watching film to try to identify a mechanical issue that might be behind his struggles.

He thought he found a little something.

“Most of the time it’s something very small that you can turn into something way bigger and then it grows from there,” Roark said, “... and then you just keep thinking about it and how to change it and it just keeps growing and growing when it’s just something small.”

Roark gave up seven hits, four walks, and six earned runs in that outing, after giving up six hits, three walks, and three earned runs in 6 13 IP against the Phillies when he faced them back on May 5th.

Both of those starts were in Nationals Park.

Roark and the Nats were on the road in Citizens Bank Park tonight, but he was a little shaky once again in the first, giving up a one-out double and back-to-back, two-out walks to load the bases before a backwards K ended a 28-pitch inning.

Given a 1-0 lead to work with in the top of the second inning, Roark gave it back with Maikel Franco doubling to left to start the home-half of the frame and scoring on a single to center by Jorge Alfaro when Michael A. Taylor booted the grounder on the outfield grass, 1-1.

A hit-by-pitch on Odubel Herrera, fly to center by Carlos Santana, and single to center by Nick Williams put runners on the corners in the Philly third, and a sac fly to center field by Scott Kingery gave the Phillies a 2-1 lead.

Roark held it there through five innings, and returned to the mound in the bottom of the sixth at 85 pitches and worked around a two-out double to right by Maikel Franco and an intentional walk to complete a 22-pitch frame that ended his outing.

Tanner Roark’s Line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 Ks, 107 P, 62 S, 6/3 GO/FO.

Nola vs the Nationals: Phillies’ righty Aaron Nola gave up four hits, three walks, and a total of two earned runs in six innings when he faced the Nationals in the nation’s capital during the last series against Philadelphia’s NL East rivals.

That outing extended a six-start unbeaten streak for the righty, over which the 25-year-old, 2011 22nd Round pick had gone (3-0) with a 2.95 ERA, 15 walks, 42 Ks, and a .171/.260/.287 line against in 36 23 innings.

Nola fell behind early when he gave up a leadoff single by Trea Turner in the second tonight, and a one-out double to left by Pedro Severino, who lined an 1-1 fastball out to Rhys Hoskins to bring Turner in for a 1-0 lead early in the series opener.

The next eleven Nationals went down in order as Nola’s teammates tied it up and gave him a one-run lead.

Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon hit back-to-back singles in the first two at bats of the top of the sixth, but both runners were stranded three outs later as the right-hander kept the 2-1 lead intact.

Nola picked up two Ks (for seven total) in a 12-pitch seventh, and returned to the mound in the eighth at 95 pitches and gave up a leadoff single by Wilmer Difo and a two-out walk to Juan Soto before he was done for the night.

Aaron Nola’s Line: 7.2 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 Ks, 114P, 78 S, 5/5 GO/FO.

Pedro Punch: Nationals’ catcher Pedro Severino had one extra base hit in his last 25 games and 79 plate appearances coming into tonight’s series opener with the Phillies, a double on June 21st against Baltimore. Before that, you have to go back to May 21st against San Diego.

Severino came through with a two-base hit in his first at bat in tonight’s game, hitting a 92 mph 1-1 fastball from Phillies’ righty Aaron Nola to left for an RBI double that snapped a streak of 19-straight scoreless innings for the Nationals, which went back to their eighth-inning rally in the series finale with Philadelphia in D.C. on Sunday.

BULLPEN ACTION: Ryan Madson took over on the mound for the Nationals in the bottom of the seventh inning, and gave up a leadoff single by Cesar Hernandez and a two-run blast to left by Rhys Hoskins, whose 13th of 2018 made it a 4-1 game in the Phillies’ favor.

Sammy Solis took over with two down and hit the first batter he faced, Nick Williams, but got the third out of the inning.

Adam Morgan took over for Aaron Nola with two on and two out in the Nationals’ seventh and got the third out on a pop to short right by Daniel Murphy on the first pitch he threw. Still 4-1 Phillies.

Brandon Kintzler tossed a scoreless eighth for the Nationals.

Philly right-hander Tommy Hunter gave up back-to-back hits to start the Nationals’ ninth.

Trea Turner singled and Michael A. Taylor doubled to right to drive in a run and make it a two-run game, 4-2 Phillies.

Seranthony Dominguez came on to face pinch hitter Mark Reynolds with a runner on third and one out and struck him out with a 2-2 slider.

Wilmer Difo stepped in next and Taylor scored from third on a passed ball before Difo K’d swinging to end it.

Ballgame.

Final Score: 4-3 Phillies

Nationals now 41-38