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Roark, Ramos lead Nationals past Cubs 2-1

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Roark, Ramos lead Nationals past Cubs 2-1

CHICAGO (AP) -- Tanner Roark made a successful return to Washington's rotation on Monday. It was like he never left.

Roark pitched five effective innings, Wilson Ramos hit a tiebreaking homer and the Nationals beat the Cubs 2-1 in the first major league matchup of young sluggers Bryce Harper and Chicago rookie Kris Bryant.

Denard Span also homered for NL East-leading Washington, which has won eight of nine.

Making his first start of the season in place of the injured Doug Fister, Roark (1-2) allowed Bryant's sixth home run and struck out three. Four relievers combined for four innings of two-hit ball, with Drew Storen working the ninth for his NL-best 15th save in 16 attempts -- closing out the five-hitter.

"With the exception of one slider to Bryant, (Roark) threw the ball exactly where he wanted to throw it today," Washington manager Matt Williams said. "He really kept his pitch count down through five.

"He knows how to pitch. He knows how to get guys out."

Roark won 15 games last season, but was shifted to the bullpen when Washington signed free agent Max Scherzer. The Wilmington, Illinois native had a large contingent of friends and family in the stands.

"Coming off the mound each time, each inning, I could definitely hear some people with recognizable voices that were in the crowd," said Roark, who also played his college ball at Illinois.

Roark also got some help from his defense. Left fielder Michael Taylor made a diving catch of Tsuyoshi Wada's liner to left to end the second inning with Chris Coghlan on first.

"I threw my hands up in the air," Roark said. "That was a heck of a catch."

Then Harper made a leaping catch at the wall on Anthony Rizzo's fly to right with two outs and Bryant on first in the third.

"(Harper) made a nice play running full stream into the wall," Williams said. "He catches it with the left hand and braces with the right.

"It got the forearm and elbow, but he's OK."

Wada allowed one run and four hits in 5 1/3 innings in his second start since being recalled from Triple-A Iowa. Justin Grimm (1-1) relieved Wada and yielded Ramos' two-out drive to right in the sixth.

"Both sides pitched really well," Chicago manager Joe Maddon said. "I'll take our performance and also my takeaway is that's as good as anybody we played so far.

"We lost 2-1 . but give them some credit regarding the defense they played in the outfield. Those were the game changers."

Bryant went deep in the first and also had an infield single. He reached in the ninth when a replay review showed he was hit by a pitch, but Storen retired the next three batters.

Harper went 1 for 3 with a double and a walk.

The 22-year-old Harper and 23-year-old Bryant are from Las Vegas and faced each other in games as late as high school.

"We grew up playing against each other, playing with each other and now it's a bigger stage and obviously that's pretty cool to do, living out our dreams," Bryant said before the game. "It's something we always wanted to do."

Leading off the game, Span smashed a 2-2 pitch off Wrigley Field's new scoreboard in right. But Bryant connected in the bottom half, lining a 1-0 pitch into the first row of bleachers in left.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: OF Jayson Werth (bruised left wrist) will rejoin the team in Chicago on Tuesday but isn't expected to play. "We'll see where he's at as far as swinging the bat," Williams said. "If he's ready to do that then we'll get improvement and get him going." ... Fister, on the DL since May 15 with right forearm tightness, is expected to start throwing later this week, according to Williams.

UP NEXT

Nationals RHP Jordan Zimmerman (4-2, 3.52 ERA) faces RHP Kyle Hendricks (1-1, 4.14 ERA) on Tuesday night. Hendricks pitched his first career shutout in his last outing on Thursday in San Diego. Zimmerman is 0-3 in three career appearances in Wrigley Field and has not pitched there in two seasons.

PREGAME PLEASANTRIES

The even-tempered Bryant and often-brash Harper exchanged compliments in separate pregame chats with the media.

"When we were younger, we use to call (Bryant) `silk,'" Harper said. "He was so smooth with everything he did."

"I think we have very different personalities," Bryant said. "It's good to have guys who wear their heart on the sleeve and he's one of those guys. It's awesome to see that. He plays so hard for his team."

Although Bryant said he hasn't stayed in close contact with Harper, he said he hoped to reach out to the slugger in the offseason so the two might "play some golf, hang out and work out."

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Turner, Adams power Nats over Giants to end 4-game skid

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Turner, Adams power Nats over Giants to end 4-game skid

SAN FRANCISCO -- Trea Turner got five hits, Matt Adams homered and drove in six runs, and the Washington Nationals broke out of their offensive funk in a big way, routing the San Francisco Giants 15-2 Wednesday to end a four-game losing streak.

The Nationals had totaled just eight runs during their skid. Andrew Stevenson had two doubles, two singles and four RBIs as Washington set season highs for runs and hits (18).

Manager Dave Martinez's ballclub has been stunted by a rash of injuries this season but salvaged the final game of the three-game series at AT&T Park series to end a rough 4-5 road trip. Max Scherzer (5-1) did his part, striking out 10 in six innings.

Turner came into the game batting .232, and the leadoff man's slow start had contributed to the Nationals' struggles. He raised his batting average 35 points, tying a career high for hits in a game. He also scored twice, drove in two runs and stole his 10th base this season.

Adams matched his career best for RBIs. He singled as part of a three-run first, put the Nationals up 6-1 with a three-run homer off Jeff Samardzija (1-1) in the fourth and added a two-run single in the eighth.

The Nationals scored 14 of their 15 runs with two outs.

Scherzer earned his fourth consecutive win, all of them coming after a Washington loss. He allowed two runs and five hits, and reached double figures in strikeouts for the fourth time in six starts this season.

Brandon Belt and Pablo Sandoval each two hits apiece for the Giants.

Samardzija labored through a 30-pitch first inning and was done after retiring 11 batters. He gave up six runs on eight hits with three walks.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: 1B Ryan Zimmerman and 2B Howie Kendrick were given the day off.

Giants: Mac Williamson was a late scratch because of neck stiffness, one day after stumbling over the bullpen pitching mound and crashing into a low fence while chasing a foul ball. ... RHP Chris Stratton was placed on the paternity list. ... RHP Roberto Gomez was called up from Triple-A Sacramento.

UP NEXT

Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg (2-2, 2.97 ERA) pitches against the Diamondbacks on Friday in Washington. He has yielded six earned runs and three homers over his last 13 innings.

Giants: LHP Derek Holland (0-3, 4.98) faces the Los Angeles Dodgers in the opener of a four-game series at AT&T Park on Friday night. Holland is winless in two career starts against the Dodgers.

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Williamson homers again, Giants top Nationals 4-3

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Williamson homers again, Giants top Nationals 4-3

SAN FRANCISCO -- Mac Williamson had to dust himself off after crashing into a low padded wall near the stands in left field while chasing a foul ball.

More frustrated than hurt, Williamson took it out on Nationals pitcher Tanner Roark a few moments later after undergoing a series of concussion tests in the dugout.

Williamson homered for the second straight night and third in five games, hitting a tiebreaking shot in the sixth inning to lead San Francisco to a 4-3 victory over Washington on Tuesday night.

"I got pretty lucky," Williamson said. "I felt fine then and I feel fine now. I'm sure once the adrenalin wears off later tonight, tomorrow we'll see how the body feels. I'm sure I'll be a little sore."

Brandon Belt hit his fifth home run in six games, Joe Panik added three hits and scored twice, and the Giants won their third straight and fourth in the last five.

One night after hitting a 464-foot homer in the series opener, Williamson hit a first-pitch solo shot to center off Roark with two outs in the sixth inning that bounced off the top of the wall and broke a 3-all tie. It wasn't as far as Monday's clout -- this one went 423 feet -- but was just as pivotal for the Giants.

"We've talked about what a shot in the arm he's been and he's more than that," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He came through again tonight. Good for him because he's worked hard at it."

Williamson's deciding home run came one inning after he stumbled over the bullpen mound in foul territory and crashed into a low wall near the stands while trying to chase down Bryce Harper's foul ball. Williamson stayed down briefly as team trainers rushed out before getting to his feet.

"I tried to roll my neck a little bit and my head down a little bit when I started going down," Williamson said. "I think that helped break my fall. I was just a little frustrated I didn't come up with the play. I had it in my glove and it came out."

Belt hit a two-run shot off Roark (1-2) in the third.

Michael Taylor had a three-run homer for Washington, which has lost four straight and 14 of 20 since opening the season 4-0.

"It seems like that sixth inning's been biting us in the rear as of late," Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. "We're swinging the bats. We just can't get the big hit with people on base."

Reyes Moronta (1-0) retired six batters for his first career win. Sam Dyson pitched one inning and Hunter Strickland worked the ninth for his fifth save.

The Giants got a run off Roark in the first but left the bases loaded when Evan Longoria struck out looking to end the inning. Belt homered on a 3-2 pitch from Roark in the second to make it 3-0.

Washington tied it on Taylor's three-run homer off starter Ty Blach in the third. Ryan Zimmerman walked and Moises Sierra singled before Taylor's deep drive into the right-field stands.

Roark went into the game 6-0 in seven career games against San Francisco but couldn't find a rhythm this time. He allowed four runs on six hits, walked two and hit a batter and threw a pair of wild pitches.

WHERE DID IT GO?

Panik hit a soft comebacker to Roark in the fifth that glanced off the pitcher's glove then bounced up on the top of his cap before falling to the turf. Roark initially couldn't locate the ball but found it in time to throw to first for the out.

AILING BLACH

Blach allowed three runs and four hits in five innings. After the game, Bochy said the left-hander suffered from food poisoning last week and was given an IV on Monday. "That was a really gutty effort that he gave us," Bochy said.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: Placed RHP Shawn Kelley on the 10-disabled list with ulnar nerve irritation in his right elbow. Infielder/outfielder Matt Reynolds was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse and outfielder Rafael Bautista and infielder Adrian Sanchez were called up.

UP NEXT

Nationals RHP Max Scherzer (4-1, 1.36 ERA) and Giants RHP Jeff Samardzija (1-0, 0.00) take to the mound for the series finale at AT&T Park on Wednesday. Samardzija is making his second start after beginning the season on the disabled list.