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Nationals rally, then hold off Royals 11-10

The SportsXchange

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Bryce Harper did it with his bat and glove on Friday night.

Harper hit a three-run double and Jayson Werth had a two-run homer in a seven-run fourth inning as the Washington Nationals overcame a six-run deficit and held on to defeat the Kansas City Royals 11-10.

The Nationals have won four straight to even their record at 64-64. They are at .500 for the first time since July 19.

The Royals have lost six straight and nine of 11.

Harper also made a diving catch on Emilo Bonifacio's looper to shallow right center for the second out in the Royals' three-run ninth with the tying run on base.

"You have to catch that ball in that situation," Harper said. "It was a huge play."

Tanner Roark (4-0), who was called up Aug. 6 from Triple-A Syracuse, pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing one hit, to pick up the victory. He relieved Gio Gonzalez, who failed to make it out of the fourth.

"Unbelievable job," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said of Roark. "I can't say enough about him."

Roark came in with two runners on and one out and the Nationals clinging to a one-run advantage but got Justin Maxwell to ground into an inning ending double play.

While the fourth was the big inning, the Nationals added three runs in the seventh -- and that became huge.

Ian Desmond, who went 3-for-5, led off with a single, Wilson Ramos doubled and Adam LaRoche walked to load the bases with none out. Tyler Moore stroked a run-producing single, his third hit of the game. Chris Getz's bad throw home allowed Ramos and LaRoche to score unearned runs.

"It was a chaotic game, a weird game," Getz said. "They didn't give up. They didn't give away any at-bats. We came out swinging and did the same thing."

The Nationals had hoped to stay away from closer Rafael Soriano, who had pitched the previous three days, but he was summoned in the ninth after Drew Storen walked Gordon and yielded a double to Eric Hosmer. Soriano got the final two outs, thanks to Harper's nice catch, to preserve the lead and log his 33rd save.

Gordon and Hosmer reached base nine times (six hits, three walks), scored seven runs, drove in four runs and amassed four extra base-hits

The Royals, who scored five runs while being swept by the Chicago White Sox, jumped out to a 6-0 lead after two innings.

Hosmer, a two-run shot, and Maxwell homered in a three-run first inning.

Jamey Carroll doubled in the second to snap an 0-for-16 slump since being acquired by the Royals in a trade. He scored on a Gordon double, and Hosmer and Billy Butler stroked RBI singles.

The six-run lead, however, evaporated quickly.

The Nationals got a run back in the third when Denard Span's two-out triple scored Anthony Rendon. Bruce Chen walked Ryan Zimmerman and Harper to load the bases, but Werth flied out to Maxwell in right to leave them loaded.

Chen was not so fortunate in the fourth when the Nationals sent 10 men to the plate in a seven-run inning. After a Rendon sacrifice fly, Span and Zimmerman each drew 10-pitch walks. Span fouled off six pitches, and Zimmerman fouled off four pitches with the bases loaded before walking, which scored LaRoche.

"I made some quality pitches, but they kept fouling them off and fouling them off," Chen said. "I feel bad. I let my teammates down. I wasn't making good pitches. I didn't execute.

"It's a shame. On a day we score 10 runs, we should win and we didn't."

Harper cleared the bases with a double to tie the score at 6 and sent Chen to the showers. Louis Coleman, who had not allowed a run this season in 21 innings, replaced Chen and promptly gave up a home run to Werth on a full-count pitch.

Did Royals manager Ned Yost think he left Chen in for one batter too long?

"If I look back, I'm not doing anything differently," Yost said.

Chen's final line was seven runs, six hits and five walks in 3 2/3 innings and 95 pitches.

Gonzalez gave up an RBI single to Salvador Perez in the fourth, cutting the Washington lead to one.

Gonzalez, who is winless in seven starts since a July 10 victory at Philadelphia, permitted seven runs (six earned) and nine hits, including two home runs, and three walks. That matched his briefest outing of the season. The other was July 31 at Detroit when he allowed 10 runs and 11 hits.

"I was really proud of the offense," Yost said. "They put runs on the board early and battled to the end."

NOTES: The Nationals made a slew of roster moves on Friday. They traded OF David DeJesus after only four days with the club to the Rays for cash or a player to be named. They dealt C Kurt Suzuki to the Athletics for minor league RHP Dakota Bacus. LHP Xavier Cedeno and C Jhonatan Solano were recalled from Triple-A Syracuse. ... Royals OF Lorenzo Cain, who went on the disabled list with a pulled left oblique on Aug. 9, took some dry swings and did some light work on the field, but he is not expected to be back until mid-September. ... Yost called a closed-door team meeting before the game. "That's the last one," he said. "That's it."
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