It wasn't supposed to end this way for the Washington Nationals. Game 162 of 162 this afternoon was the final game of the 2013 season for the 2012 NL East Champions. Only one of the Nats' regulars were in the lineup for the finale, with 23-year-old, 2011 1st Round pick Anthony Rendon, who played the 98th game of his first full pro season after being called up to replace opening day second baseman Danny Espinosa in early June, hitting second and starting at third in the final game on the schedule for both teams. Rendon collected his 92nd hit in 349 plate appearances (.264 AVG) when he singled through short on 1-1 curve from Arizona Diamondbacks' lefty Wade Miley, but he was stranded at second two outs later when D-Backs' right fielder Gerardo Parra ran down 24-year-old Nats' prospect Zach Walters' long fly to right-center in Chase Field.
Tanner Roark, the Nationals' sort-of-out-of-nowhere 26-year-old right-hander, let the first two D-Backs' batters he faced reach base in the bottom of the first, with Willie Bloomquist singling and taking third on a bunt by Adam Eaton on which Roark committed an error, firing a wild throw by Tyler Moore at first base. Paul Goldschmidt's sac fly to center in the next at bat was deep enough to score Bloomquist from third for an early 1-0 lead. Roark needed 10 pitches to get through the Diamondbacks' first.
Steve Lombardozzi singled to start the second but was doubled up on a Jhonatan Solano grounder to second. Eury Perez singled with two down, beating out a swinging bunt toward the right side of the infield, but he was stranded when Tanner Roark K'd looking to end the frame. Roark retired the D-Backs in order in the bottom of the second. The 12-pitch inning had the Nats' starter at 22 pitches total after two.
Anthony Rendon was 4 for 4 vs Wade Miley this season after his one-out single in the Nationals' first. He walked in his second at bat against the Diamondbacks' starter with one down in the top of the third, but was forced out at second on a Scott Hairston grounder to third base for the second out of a 15-pitch inning by the D-Backs' starter which ended when Tyler Moore lined out to right. Tanner Roark was up to 38 pitches after a 16-pitch, 1-2-3 third, with nine straight batters set down after the first two batters of the game reached base. 1-0 D-Backs.
A throwing error by Willie Bloomquist on a grounder to short by Steve Lombardozzi put a runner on second with one down in the Nats' fourth. Jhonatan Solano failed to advance the runner when he grounded out, so Lombardozzi stole third with Eury Perez at the plate, but Perez's groundout to second ended Wade Miley's fourth scoreless. 1-0 D-Backs. Tanner Roark gave up a one-out single by Martin Prado, but got the next two outs to end a 12-pitch inning at 50 overall after four. 12 of 13 set down after the first two batters reached in the first.
Tanner Roark and Anthony Rendon singled one out apart in the top of the fifth with Rendon improving to 5 for 5 vs Wade Miley in the process, but Roark was doubled up on a fly to left-center by Scott Hairston when Adam Eaton tracked down what Roark must have thought was a hit and threw back to second in time to get the pitcher, who looked like he fell down on his way back to second. Tanner Roark was up to 10 groundouts after the first two D-Backs to step up in the sixth rolled outs to his infielders. Groundout no.11 was handled by shortstop Zack Walters, whose throw to first ended a seven-pitch inning that had Roark up to 57 pitches.
D-Backs' third baseman Martin Prado stumbled as he fielded a sharp grounder to third by Tyler Moore, then bounced a throw to first that ricocheted off Paul Goldschmidt's glove and into the stands. Moore took second on the E, then scored on a line drive to right by Zach Walters that Gerardo Parra couldn't. quite. reach. 1-1 game. Walters took third on what was ruled an error by Parra, then scored when Steve Lombardozzi singled to left field. 2-1 Nats after five and a half. Tanner Roark's 12th ground ball out was a weak grounder to short by Willie Bloomquist. Adam Eaton's chopper to first was no.13. Paul Goldschmidt's pop out to first ended a 12-pitch inning that had Roark up to 69 pitches overall, 2-1 Nationals.
Wade Miley retired the Nationals in order in the top of the seventh. A one-out walk to Aaron Hill, a throwing error by Anthony Rendon and a single to left by Gerardo Parra loaded the bases in the D-Backs' seventh. Tuffy Gosewich stepped in against Tanner with the bases loaded and K'd looking at a 1-2 fastball outside for out no.2. Pinch hitter Wil Nieves came up next, fell behind 0-2, and grounded to second to end the frame. Still 2-1 Nationals. 16 groundouts total for Roark.
• Tanner Roark's Line: 7.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 Ks, 95 P, 70 S, 16/1 GO/FO.
D-Backs' right-hander David Hernandez retired the Nationals in order in the top of the eighth. Nationals' right-hander Ryan Mattheus replaced Tanner Roark in the bottom of the eighth inning and gave up three straight one-out singles by Adam Eaton, Paul Goldschmidt and Martin Prado as the D-Backs tied it up at 2-2. A sac fly to right allowed Paul Goldschmidt's pinch runner Tony Campana to take third, and a two-out infield single by A.J. Pollock that bounced off Mattheus gave Arizona a 3-2 lead. Xavier Cedeno took over on the mound and got the final out, but the Nationals trailed 3-2 after eight.
Brad Ziegler retired the Nationals in order in the ninth. 3-2 final.
Nationals finish 2013 season: 86-76