Roark, Nationals bullpen outduel Bumgarner, edge Giants
WASHINGTON (AP) Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer may headline the Nationals' starting rotation, but Tanner Roark is proving to be pretty reliable.
Roark and the Washington bullpen outdueled Madison Bumgarner as the Nationals beat the San Francisco Giants 1-0 Sunday in a matchup of NL division leaders.
Roark (12-6) gave up five hits in seven innings and won for the sixth time in his last seven decisions. The right-hander has thrown at least seven shutout innings a league-best seven times.
''He's not amazing us anymore,'' manager Dusty Baker said. ''We've kind of come to expect it.''
Bumgarner (10-7) lost despite allowing just two hits, including Wilson Ramos' 18th home run in the seventh inning.
Pitching opposite the Giants' ace, Roark knew he couldn't afford too many mistakes.
''He's always aggressive,'' Roark said of Bumgarner. ''He's one of the top pitchers in the game, so going against that gives me an extra boost. I want to go out there and do the same and not get beat.''
Ramos' homer came after Roark escaped a jam in the seventh. With runners on second and third, center fielder Ben Revere made a spectacular, over-the-shoulder catch to rob Brandon Belt of extra bases.
It was Roark's 105th and final pitch of the afternoon.
''Tanner, he pitched one heck of a game,'' Revere said. ''He was just hitting spots, getting key outs and he's pitching well. He pitched a heck of a game. He was definitely the player of the game in my book. I was just trying to help him out the best I can.''
The crowd of 32,790 at Nationals Park saluted Revere with a standing ovation as he ran off the field.
''Ben saved the game,'' Baker said. ''That was a Willie Mays catch right there. Boy, that was big.''
Shawn Kelly retired the Giants in order in the eighth and Mark Melancon pitched the ninth for his 31st save. Melancon converted his first save opportunity since he was acquired in a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates on July 30.
Roark escaped multiple jams, working around five hits and three walks, striking out five.
Bumgarner struck out seven and walked two. He was coming off one the worst starts of his career, allowing 10 hits and eight runs in five innings against Philadelphia.
''I knew he'd pitch well today,'' Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. ''That's who he is. What a terrific job. I knew that he would bounce back and throw a beauty and he did.''
Bumgarner retired 11 of the first 12 batters and didn't allow a hit until Anthony Rendon's two-out double in the fourth. The Giants' ace is winless in five starts since the All-Star break.
''All I can do is come out and put us in a good spot and keep us in the game and hope that things go our way,'' he said. ''It hasn't since the break, but that's just the way it goes. I can't worry about that, or it's just going to dig a deeper hole.''
With the win, the Nationals took the season series over the Giants four games to three, giving them the tiebreaker should the teams finish with the same record at the end of the regular season.
Nationals left fielder Jayson Werth extended his on-base streak to a career-best 38 straight games, drawing a four-pitch walk in the first inning. His string is the longest in the majors this season.
Giants: RF Hunter Pence struck out as a pinch-hitter in the ninth. He didn't start after bouncing a foul ball off his face Saturday. Pence underwent a CT scan after Saturday's game, which showed no fracture to the orbital socket. ... LHP Josh Osich (forearm strain) is expected to make a rehab appearance with Double-A Richmond on Monday. Osich (1-2, 4.25) last pitched July 23.
Nationals: RF Bryce Harper didn't play, a day after leaving a game with neck stiffness. Chris Heisey replaced Harper in right field.
Giants: RHP Johnny Cueto (13-3) takes the mound to begin a three-game series in Miami. Cueto has lost his last two decisions and is winless in his last four starts overall. The Giants will face RHP Jose Fernandez (12-6), who is 26-2 lifetime at Marlins Park.
Nationals: After a day off Monday, Washington opens a two-game interleague series at home against Cleveland. Scherzer (11-6) is 3-0 in his last four starts, having thrown at least seven innings in each outing.