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Nationals lose 7-2 to Hammel, Cubs

WASHINGTON – Tanner Roark took on Jason Hammel once again. Unfortunately for the Washington Nationals, the result was the same.

Roark pitched seven innings in his second straight 7-2 loss to Hammel and the Chicago Cubs on Friday.

Jayson Werth homered in his second straight game and added a double for Washington, which had won five in a row. Wilson Ramos had an RBI single.

Hammel (8-5) gave up two runs in six-plus innings in his second consecutive victory against Washington. The 6-foot-6 right-hander allowed two runs in 6 1-3 innings in a 7-2 victory over Roark and the Nationals on June 27 in his previous start.

Hammel, who also had an RBI single in his latest victory, improved to 8-0 with a 3.11 ERA in 10 career starts against Washington.

“He’s been tough on us,” Nationals manager Matt Williams said. “He’s been tough on everybody, but especially us.”

Roark (7-6) was charged with four runs and nine hits in seven innings in his second straight loss after a personal four-game winning streak.

“They did what they did last time: base-hit me,” said Roark, who allowed four runs and a season-high 10 hits at Chicago in his previous outing.

Chicago collected 14 hits in its fourth consecutive victory. Justin Ruggiano hit a solo shot in the third inning, and then added a run-scoring single in Chicago’s three-run ninth. He has six hits and seven RBIs in his last two games.

While Roark felt he simply “got beat,” Williams noticed a few issues that have cropped up for the right-hander lately.

“Just seems like he’s missing a little bit,” he said. “Missing fastball location probably most, which of course sets up everything else. Just not as crisp, not as on the corner (of the plate).”

Williams tinkered with his batting order in Bryce Harper’s fourth game back after a long stint on the disabled list. The lefty batter hit sixth against three Colorado left-handers earlier in the week, but Williams moved him up to the two spot Friday against a righty.

Harper struck out twice and was hitless in four at-bats. Anthony Rendon, who moved from second to sixth in the order, went 1 for 4.

Washington put its first two batters on in the fifth, and Hammel then fell behind 3-0 to Roark. But Roark was unable to get a sacrifice down, and eventually struck out.

“Could have been different game there potentially,” Williams said.

Denard Span then bounced into a fielder’s choice and Harper struck out to end the inning.

“Whenever we had opportunities, whenever we had guys in scoring position, (Hammel) just made pitches,” Span said.

Hammel left after Rendon’s leadoff double in the seventh. Neil Ramirez then struck out Ian Desmond before Ramos’ run-scoring single made it 4-2.

Ramirez retired the next two batters to limit the damage, and the Cubs broke it open in the ninth when Ruggiano singled in Darwin Barney and Starlin Castro added a two-run single.

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