Nationals Game Notes: July 17 vs. Pittsburgh Pirates

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Pittsburgh Pirates (46-45) vs. Washington Nationals (56-36)
RHP Chad Kuhl [1-0, 6.08] | RHP Max Scherzer [10-6, 3.03]
Sunday, July 17 l Game #93 / Home #45 l Nationals Park l Washington, D.C. l 1:35 P.M.
Television: MASN/WUSA9 l Radio: 106.7 The Fan & Nationals Radio Network

The Washington Nationals shutout the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday night, 6-0, to run their current winning streak to five games and move 20 games over .500 for the season…Since snapping their season-long seven-game losing streak on June 26 at Milwaukee, the Nationals are 13-4 (.765) — the best record in the Major Leagues in that 17-game stretch — and are outscoring opponents 94-48…The Nationals’ current seven-game lead in the National League East is the second-largest lead of any first-place team in baseball, behind only the Chicago Cubs, who hold an eight-game advantage over the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Central.

  • The Nationals have picked up right where they left off before last week’s All-Star festivities, as their 54 wins before the break were the most in team history (2005-present) and matched the 1994 Expos for the most in franchise history before the Midsummer Classic.
  • With win No. 2 of the second half secured, the Nationals’ 56-36 (.609) record is good for the third-best record in the Major Leagues, behind only the Chicago Cubs (55-35, .611) and San Francisco Giants (57-35, .620).

Shining in the Nationals’ seventh shutout victory of the season on Saturday night was RHP Tanner Roark, who tossed 8.0 innings and allowed just five hits and a walk while striking out five…Roark, who improved to 9-5 with a 2.82 ERA in the win, owns the 11th-lowest ERA in the National League.

  • Saturday’s outing was the 12th time (in 19 starts this season) that Roark has pitched at least 7.0 innings…Only LAD LHP Clayton Kershaw (14), CWS LHP Chris Sale (13), and SFG RHP Johnny Cueto (13) (all of whom were NL All-Stars) have pitched at least 7.0 innings more than Roark this season.
  • No one has thrown 7.0 (or more) shutout innings more often than Roark, who has done it six times this season…Second on that list is CHI RHP Jake Arrieta (5).

Nationals 2B Stephen Drew continued to show the strength of Washington’s bench as he stepped into the starting lineup on Saturday and clubbed a single-game career-high three doubles…Drew’s extra-base bonanza came one day after 1B Clint Robinson joined the starting lineup on Friday and went 2-for-4, including the game-tying RBI, and CF Michael A. Taylor added a two-run home run when he got the start in the outfield on Friday as well.

  • For Robinson, the RBI-single marked the seventh time in his last 10 starts that he has contributed an RBI, and in 21 starts this season he has collected 17 RBI.
  • Taylor has hit safely in 21 of his last 24 starting assignments, going 28-for-99 (.283) in that stretch with eight doubles, four homers, nine RBI, six walks, six stolen bases and 16 runs.
  • With the three doubles on Saturday, 15 of Drew’s 25 hits this season have gone for extra bases (eight doubles, seven home runs).

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