Washington's Nationals had won five games in-a-row four times this season, but until this afternoon in Citi Field, they'd never won a sixth. Having won two straight in Marlins Park in Miami and the first three of four in Flushing, Queens, New York, the defending NL East Champs had a chance to top their season-high in consecutive wins today in the series finale with the Mets and keep their slim chances of reaching the postseason alive with their 22nd win in their last 30 games.
Nats' starter Tanner Roark was trying to win his sixth straight as well, having won five games (5-0) in his first 10 major league appearances, one of them his first start last time out against the Marlins when the 26-year-old rookie right-hander threw six scoreless and lowered his ERA to 0.94 after 28 2/3 IP in which he'd held opposing hitters to a .186/.238/.196 line.
Roark and Ross Ohlendorf flipped roles before the last turn in the rotation/throw day for each came around in part because Nationals' manager Davey Johnson wanted to see Roark get a chance to start. Asked after the dominant outing in Miami if Roark would get another chance, the 70-year-old skipper joked that he'd certainly ride the hot arm. ""He'll make his next start," Johnson said, "I'm not that stupid."
The Nationals' batters connected for three more home runs, one each by Ryan Zimmerman, Adam LaRoche and Wilson Ramos for 12 total in the four-game set in Citi Field to give Roark a 3-2 lead after five innings in the series finale. After Adam LaRoche doubled and scored on a sac fly to make it 4-2 Nationals after six and a half, Roark was replaced on the mound by Craig Stammen who threw a scoreless seventh.
Denard Span and Ryan Zimmerman hit back-to-back doubles off Mets' right-hander Frank Francisco in the eighth with Span's extending his hit streak to 23 games and Zimmerman's driving Span in for a 5-2 lead. Ian Desmond drove Zimmerman in with a groundout to short to make it 6-2 after seven and a half. Anthony Rendon's ninth inning home run made it 7-2.
That's how it ended. Roark wins his sixth. The Nats win their sixth. The Nationals sweep the four-game set with the Mets in NY's Citi Field.
Nationals now 77-69