Tanner Roark was up to 19 2/3 scoreless on the mound at home in the nation's capital in 2014 and up to a total of 29 scoreless innings overall in D.C. going back to last August when the New York Mets finally got to the Washington Nationals' 27-year-old right-hander in the fifth inning of last night's game in Nationals Park.
Roark was through a fairly uneventful four innings on 60 pitches with a 5-0 lead when the Mets' fifth inning rally started with a single to center by Lucas Duda on a 90 mph 1-2 fastball.
Roark fed Anthony Recker a first-pitch fastball in the at bat that followed and the Mets' catcher doubled to left field to put runners on second and third with no one out.
Daniel Murphy walked with two down to bring the tying run to the plate in the form of David Wright, but the scuffling Mets' slugger popped out to second to end the 27-pitch frame that ended Roark's outing.
"For the most part good," Nats' skipper Matt Williams said after Roark improved to (3-1) on the year with the win and (5-0) in Nationals Park since he made his major league debut last season.
After five innings of work last night, Roark now has a 0.68 ERA, a 2.34 FIP and a .169/.230/.199 line against in 40 career IP in the Nationals' home.
Roark's outing ended abruptly after the long fifth inning, but with three left-handed bats due up in the sixth, Williams saw a good opportunity to go to his bullpen for Ross Detwiler in the sort of situation the Nationals had in mind when they moved the '07 1st Round pick to the 'pen during Spring Training. The shaky final inning of work by Roark convinced the Nationals' manager to make the change.
"He gave up that double to [Young] and kind of from that moment on he was a little bit up in the zone," Williams said. "A little bit erratic with his command and after the fifth it set up perfect for [Ross Detwiler] to face the three lefties and then we were able to get to the bullpen. [Roark] threw a lot of pitches in those five innings though. Early on it was good, and then it kind of left him a little bit."
After Roark and Detwiler, Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard and Rafael Soriano followed with scoreless innings of work in the 5-2 win, with Soriano making it interesting but getting the job done with some help from a lead-saving catch by Jayson Werth.
The Nationals improved to 4-0 against New York so far this season and 9-0 against the Mets going back to last year.
The NL East rivals go at it again at 4:05 pm EDT this afternoon.
• We talked about Roark, Werth's catch, Rafael Soriano's "save" and more on the latest edition of Nats Nightly after last night's game: