- Associated Press - Sunday, May 4, 2014

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Washington Nationals right-hander Tanner Roark chalked up his latest outing as a learning experience for a young pitcher.

Roark has the poorest start of his two-year career, giving up homers to Ryan Howard and Cody Asche, as the Philadelphia Phillies defeated the Nationals 7-2 on Saturday night.

“I didn’t have command of my fastball and it’s my bread and butter pitch,” Roark said. “I also left some balls up. You live and learn.”

Roark (2-1) allowed seven runs and seven hits in four-plus innings.

The runs and innings were career-worsts for Roark, who was making his 11th major league start.

“I know he can do better,” catcher Jose Lobaton said. “He left too much in the middle. Just one of those days.”

Howard started the trouble for Roark by hitting an opposite-field, three-run homer in the first. The home run snapped Roark’s scoreless streak at 18 innings.

“He was great last time; tonight not so good,” Washington manager Matt Williams said. “His ball was flat and his breaking ball was up in the zone. It happens.”

Adam LaRoche and Zach Walters homered for Washington.

Jimmy Rollins had four hits and Marlon Byrd doubled and drove in two runs for Philadelphia. The Phillies won for just the third time in 11 games against the Nationals.

“Good offense up and down the lineup, good starting pitching and good bullpen,” Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. “Real good combination.”

The game was delayed for 24 minutes because of heavy rain, lightning and thunder after the sixth inning. A.J. Burnett didn’t return after the weather cleared, having thrown 93 pitches.

Burnett (2-1) gave up one run, three hits and two walks. The right-hander had seven strikeouts to up his career total to 2,215, moving past Jim Palmer into 52nd all-time.

“I do take pride in my strikeouts so that’s pretty cool,” he said.

The 37-year-old has relied on precise control, more than power, to accumulate strikeouts in the latter stages of his career.

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