Roark shuts down Reds, leads Nats to series win

Matt Wieters homered, Bryce Harper added an RBI double, and starter Tanner Roark allowed just one run over seven innings as the Washington Nationals defeated the Cincinnati Reds 2-1 on Sunday afternoon at Nationals Park in the finale of their four-game weekend series.

The Nationals, who had been struggling before last week, took three of four in this series. Washington has won five of its last six games while trying to stay in the hunt for a postseason berth.

Roark (6-12) continued his recent turnaround with a third consecutive strong start. He gave up one run on seven hits in seven innings to win for the third straight time. The right-hander has allowed just two runs in 22 innings over those last three starts, which have come at the right time for the Washington starting rotation.

Ryan Madson came on and took care of the eighth inning, striking out two in a perfect inning.

Kelvin Herrera closed it in the ninth for Washington, earning his 17th save overall this season (he also pitched with the Royals). He needed 29 pitches to get through the ninth inning in a non-save situation in Saturday night’s win but retired the side in order on just 12 pitches this time.

Cincinnati starter Luis Castillo (6-9) lost for the first time since June 16 after going 2-0 with five no-decisions in his previous seven starts. He gave up two runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings and lost to the Nationals for the second time this season.

Wieters gave the Nationals a 1-0 lead with a two-out homer in the bottom of the second inning. That was just his fourth home runs this season as the Washington catcher missed nearly two months after hamstring surgery in mid-May.

Harper, back in the lineup after coming out of Saturday night’s game when he got hit in the knee with a pitch, returned and made it 2-0 with an RBI double off Castillo in the third.

The Reds cut it 2-1 in the fourth on a Mason Williams RBI single. Cincinnati began that inning with four straight hits, and the Williams single left the bases loaded with no outs.

However, Roark escaped that jam by retiring the next three batters, holding on to the 2-1 lead. Neither team scored again.

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