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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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In wake of the Eaton-Frazier dilemma, what are the biggest former teammate beefs in sports?

In wake of the Eaton-Frazier dilemma, what are the biggest former teammate beefs in sports?

Some sports beef just never go away.

On Monday, former Chicago White Sox teammates Adam Eaton and Todd Frazier had to be separated during the third inning of the New York Mets 5-3 victory over the Nationals. The two have never liked each other, and their beef with one another extends as far back as 2016. 

D.C. Sports Live's Julia Donaldson and Travis Thomas discuss what other teammate beefs in recent memory compare with the saga between Eaton and Frazier.

Donaldson initially brought up the beef between former Pittsburgh Steelers teammates Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown. The two were very critical of each other vocally to the media throughout their final season together in Pittsburgh. Their relationship reached a point of no repair, as the Steelers shipped their All-Pro receiver to the Oakland Raiders in March.

For Thomas, the first teammate beef that came to mind was the incident between former Nationals teammates Bryce Harper and Jonathan Papelbon. It's hard to forget the image of Papelbon choking out Harper for not hustling and running out the bases.

Sticking with baseball, another teammate beef from recent memory is the everlasting dislike between Jeff Kent and Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants. The two were teammates from 1997-2002, and their dislike for another was very much in the public eye. Their hatred for another reached a peak in June 2002, when the two of them had to be separated from another, and Kent publicly said he wanted to leave the team. He was then dealt to Houston in the offseason. 

Other former teammate sports beefs that come to mind are Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal when they were teammates on the Los Angeles Lakers. The two stars both wanted to be the clear main No. 1 option, which led the Lakers to trade Shaq to the Miami Heat. The trade ended up working out for both parties, as O'Neal won a championship in Miami, while Bryant led the Lakers to two more championships in 2009 and 2010.

What other teammate sports beefs come to mind?

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Mike Rizzo: Nationals are 'aggressively' trying to re-sign Anthony Rendon

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Mike Rizzo: Nationals are 'aggressively' trying to re-sign Anthony Rendon

The Washington Nationals have every intention of trying to reach a long-term deal with Anthony Rendon, GM Mike Rizzo said, looking to quell concern after a report Tuesday that he may be on his way out after the 2019 season.

"Anthony Rendon is a guy that we drafted, developed, signed and watch turn into a star in front of our eyes," Rizzo said on The Sports Junkies Wednesday. "He’s a guy that we’d like to have long-term. We’re certainly going to be aggressive and try to make that happen and hopefully, it will."

Nationals fans are growing anxious after the front office couldn't get a deal done with Bryce Harper, hoping a repeat wouldn't happen with Rendon who has had a breakout career with the Nats.

"We have shown that we’re not afraid to sign our own players, we’re not afraid to sign free agent players, and we’re not afraid to spend money on stars of the game and I don’t think Anthony Rendon would be any different," Rizzo said.

Grant Paulsen said on Tuesday on 106.7 The Fan's "Grant and Danny Show," that he believes the Nationals have missed their opportunity to re-sign Rendon.

"Here's something I heard from someone who recently talked to Scott Boras," Paulsen said. "Apparently, he told that person that the Nationals already missed the boat on getting a deal done with Anthony Rendon." 

Rizzo and the Nationals have already offered Rendon a contract extension in late March, to which he turned down. Since then, nothing has come to fruition. 

"It also takes two to get a deal done," Rizzo said. "We're aggressively trying to sign Anthony Rendon. We’d love to have him here as a National long-term.”

The Nationals look to bounce back after two straight losses to the New York Mets tonight at 7:10 p.m.

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