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Tanner Roark struggles as Nationals drop rubber match of series to Pirates

Tanner Roark struggles as Nationals drop rubber match of series to Pirates

PITTSBURGH -- Adam Frazier is making the most of his chance as Pittsburgh's new left fielder.

Frazier had a career-high four RBIs, Josh Bell and John Jaso homered, and Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Washington Nationals 10-4 on Thursday.

Frazier hit a two-run double in the sixth inning and a two-run single in the seventh to help the Pirates pull away after Jaso's solo home run in the fifth inning broke a 4-4 tie. Frazier, the leadoff hitter, is 10 for 20 in his last four games.

"He's done a very nice job for us, very professional guy up there, sees pitches, swings the bat," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.

Frazier started the season as a utility player. However, right fielder Gregory Polanco is on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring and center fielder Starling Marte suspended until mid-July for violating baseball's drug agreement.

Andrew McCutchen has moved from right field to center field. Frazier who was activated from the DL last Friday after missing nearly three weeks with a strained left hamstring, is getting a chance in left field.

"Coming into the season, I prepared to be ready to play every day, even though there wasn't a spot in the lineup for me," Frazier said "You never know what's going to happen. Now, I'm just trying to do the same things that put me in this position."

Bell, a rookie batting cleanup for the first time in his brief big league career, opened the scoring with a two-run homer in the first inning. It was the switch-hitter's fourth in six games and team-high ninth this season.

"I'm just riding the wave right now," Bell said.

McCutchen and Chris Stewart each had two of the Pirates' 13 hits and Danny Ortiz singled in the seventh inning for his first big league hit. Jaso, who has three home runs, drove in two runs as Pittsburgh took two of three from the NL East-leading Nationals and won for the fourth time in five games.

The Nationals' Daniel Murphy had two hits, including his seventh home run, a solo shot in the second inning. Washington has lost five of its last six road games.

"It was a bad couple days," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. "We didn't play very well. We made a lot of mistakes. Seems like we weren't there sometimes. We just have to up the intensity and up our concentration."

Tyler Glasnow (2-3) got the win despite allowing four runs -- two earned -- in five innings.

Tanner Roark (3-2) was tagged for seven runs in five innings, remaining winless in four starts. Roark also walked four, his fifth time in six starts with three or more.

KANG LOSES APPEAL

Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang, who has been on the restricted list since spring training, lost his appeal Thursday of a suspended two-year prison sentence in his native South Korea for fleeing the scene after crashing a car into the guardrail while driving drunk.

Kang had sought to lower the punishment to a fine. His lawyers have called the suspended prison term issued in March a potential "death sentence" to his career, blaming it for visa issues that have prevented him from joining the Pirates.

Team president Frank Coonelly said in a statement that it would be premature to comment.

GETTING A BREATHER

Nationals 1B Ryan Zimmerman was not in the starting lineup after going 5 for 31 in his last eight games, a slide that dropped his batting average to .374 from .435. He went 1-for-2 with a double after entering in the sixth.

UP NEXT

Nationals: LHP Gio Gonzalez (3-1, 2.46 ERA) faces Braves RHP R.A. Dickey (3-3, 4.22) on Friday night at Atlanta.

Pirates: Rookie RHP Trevor Williams (2-2, 6.41) starts Friday night against visiting Philadelphia and RHP Jeremy Hellickson (4-1, 3.71).

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Even after two-plus years, Hunter Strickland couldn't forget last meeting with Bryce Harper

Even after two-plus years, Hunter Strickland couldn't forget last meeting with Bryce Harper

965 days. That's the amount of time that separated the second time Bryce Harper and Hunter Strickland faced each other on an MLB diamond and the third one.

In that second matchup, which came back in Game 4 of the 2014 NLDS, Harper launched a game-tying home run in the seventh inning off of Strickland. Harper also hit a blast off Strickland in Game 1 of the same series.

Well, apparently, the Giants reliever still hasn't gotten over his last time he saw the Nationals star, because on Monday, the right-hander plunked the MVP candidate with a fastball the first chance he had since their postseason encounters almost three years ago.

Ironically enough, after San Francisco beat Washington in the NLDS, Strickland told the SF Chronicle how he would have to "have a short memory" on the mound for the rest of the playoffs and keep his composure after the home runs. Judging by this video, however, it's clear that Strickland's had some issues moving on:

RELATED: MORE ON THE HARPER VS. STRICKLAND BRAWL

When you look back at that Game 4 meeting, you'll see Harper pause at home plate and watch his moonshot after sending it into the McCovey Cove, then glare at Strickland a few times as he rounds the bases. Some will call what No. 34 did a violation of baseball's unwritten rules, but it was a huge moment on a huge stage, which contributed to Harper's emotional reaction.

The fact of the matter is that plenty of pitchers have moved on from much more egregious things in much shorter time frames, but for whatever reason, Strickland just wasn't able to.

Afterward, Harper explained why he thinks the hit by pitch should've never happened.

But Ryan Zimmerman had the best quote of all when talking about the sequence:

The veteran is right on with that statement. Harper was better than Strickland back in 2014, so Strickland felt the need to tag Harper first before Harper had a chance to tag him again on Monday. Essentially, the pitcher followed the, "If you can't beat him, bean him" strategy.

965 days is a long time to get over a grudge. For Hunter Strickland, though, 965 days still wasn't enough.

MORE: 10 INSANE BALLPARK FOODS YOU CAN EAT IN 2017

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Bryce Harper charges mound, throws punches after Hunter Strickland hits him with pitch

Bryce Harper charges mound, throws punches after Hunter Strickland hits him with pitch

In their two previous meetings, Bryce Harper took Hunter Strickland deep. Very deep, in fact.

So in their third encounter, Strickland made sure that Harper wouldn't have the chance to do it again. 

RELATED: HERE'S THE HISTORY BETWEEN BRYCE HARPER AND HUNTER STRICKLAND

In the top of the eighth inning of Monday's Nationals-Giants game, the San Francisco reliever went after Washington's best player on the first pitch and hit him in the thigh with a 98 MPH fastball.

Harper — without hesitation — responded by charging the mound and throwing his helmet at Strickland, and the two then squared off and exchanged punches.

Here is the wild video of the whole sequence:

Harper and Strickland were, of course, ejected after initiating one of the best MLB fights in recent memory. This was the pair's first time facing each other since Harper's two home runs in the 2014 NLDS, meaning Strickland's had a long time to get over No. 34's blasts but simply couldn't do it.

MORE: 10 INSANE BALLPARK FOODS YOU CAN FIND (AND TASTE) IN 2017