MILWAUKEE - Bryce Harper returned from his stomach bug to launch a three-run shot over the right field fence that got out of Miller Park in a hurry in the Nationals' 7-3 win over the Brewers on Wednesday. Manager Davey Martinez was impressed with the blast.
"He's actually been pretty good," Martinez said. "He's working some good at-bats. To see him hit that ball, especially on a line, was awesome. Hopefully, he can continue swinging the bat like that. For him, it's just getting balls in the strike zone, swinging at strikes."
* Right-hander Tanner Roark said reliever Brandon Kintzler had some suggestions about ways Roark could improve his delivery. Roark said Kintzler emphasized that one way to make sure every pitch looks the same to the hitter is to slow down his pace to the plate. Roark said he was repeating in his mind those words of advice from Kintzler: Be "slower than slow." Roark said that when things haven't gone well this season, it was because he was speeding up his delivery, causing problems with his mechanics.
Wednesday afternoon, Roark tossed eight shutout innings in a 7-3 win over Milwaukee, his first win since June 6 against the Rays. One main reason for his success? He slowed down his delivery.
"Just slow, slower. Try to think not to be too quick to the plate," Roark said. "I had to let my foot, my leg fire before I go. Unless I get behind the ball, it's flat. It felt good. We came out early and scored some runs, so that was a big confidence-booster."
Another point Roark talked to me about Tuesday as he prepared for the start was that during the losing streak he was not enjoying baseball at all. Now that he has made this mechanical adjustment, Roark said, he believes he will be able to relax and have fun again. He said Wednesday that this ability to enjoy the game has helped him to succeed, as well.
Roark showed no rust since his last start, July 13 in New York.
"I was just building off my last start. It's been nine days or something since I've been out there on the mound, but I just felt confident in general and was trusting my stuff to let it work," Roark said.
"If we go out there and have some fun and do some small-ball talk in the dugout and have fun, that's what this game is all about. Not trying to be too perfect, but just let things happen, and good things will happen."
* Outfielder Victor Robles played every other day for short-season Single-A Auburn this last week: July 20, 22 and 24. He has gone only 2-for-13 with the Doubledays but is hitting .295 in 15 games overall. He has led off and played center field in each of these recent games. The last two games he has been replaced after four at-bats with a late game pinch-hitter or pinch-runner.
* Reliever Koda Glover pitched another shutout inning last night for Triple-A Syracuse. He struck out two and did not allow a hit. His ERA is down to 3.00.
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