Saturday Afternoon Top 5:
5. Quick Recap: Anthony Rendon was 4 for 5 last night with the first four-hit game of his major league career and 5 for 6 in his last two games after he singled through short with one down in the first today. Jayson Werth reached on what was originally ruled an error by San Diego Padres' second baseman Jedd Gyorko in the next at bat and when Adam LaRoche followed with an RBI single to right it was 1-0 early in the afternoon matinee in the nation's capital. Werth took third on a throwing error on LaRoche's hit then scored easily when Ian Desmond hit an RBI double to right field. A sac fly off Danny Espinosa's bat scored LaRoche too and it was 3-0 Nats early in the third game of four with the visiting Padres.
Tanner Roark took a no-hit bid into the sixth inning before Padres' catcher Rene Rivera broke it up with a one-out single to center that Nationals' second baseman Danny Espinosa tried for but couldn't reach. Roark retired the side in the sixth, however, and was at just 68 pitches on the day after six scoreless frames.
The Nationals added to their lead in the bottom of the sixth, with Kevin Frandsen singling, moving up on a sac bunt and scoring on a two-out opposite field single to left by Denard Span. 4-0 Nats after six.
Tanner Roark stuck around after losing his no-hit bid and completed the game, shutting out the Padres in what ended up a 4-0 win.
4. The Mousy Girls Screams, 'Violence, Violence!': Ian Desmond struck the first big blow in Friday night's game, hitting an opposite field line drive double into the right-center gap to bring Anthony Rendon and Adam LaRoche in for a 2-0 lead after Rendon singled to center off Padres' lefty Robbie Erlin and LaRoche drew a walk. Rendon singled again in his second at bat in the third and LaRoche took another free pass from Erlin before Desmond singled to center to load the bases and Bryce Harper tripled to clear them.
Nats' skipper Matt Williams talked after the game about Rendon and Desmond sparking the offense.
"I think Anthony and Desi certainly set the tone tonight," Williams said. "Taking the ball the other way against a left-handed pitcher and staying on it. That sets the tone for your team. They both did a nice job of that."
Desmond's 3 for 5 night was a big one for the Nationals' shortstop, who entered the game hitless in his previous 13 at bats going back to a 1 for 4 night in the series opener with the Los Angeles Angels.
Williams said it was the first at bat of the night that got Desmond going.
"He's been struggling a little bit at the plate," Williams said, "and last night's first at bat got him back on track."
Before he got back on track, Williams explained that it was a problem of swinging a little too hard and trying to crush the ball rather than just make solid contact.
"Just a little bit, a little bit violent with his swing," Williams said. "A little swinging hard and of course he's got the ability to hit the ball over the fence. From what I've seen over the last few games anyway, just a little bit too much extra and that causes him to pull off a little bit. But tonight he stayed on balls and what'd he get three hits? That's good for him, I'm glad for him."
Rendon and Desmond continued to swing a hot bats this afternoon with Rendon singling with one down in the first and scoring on an RBI single by Adam LaRoche and Desmond doubling in a run as the Nats took a 3-0 lead early.
3. Row-ark in D.C.: Tanner Roark, 27, took the mound this afternoon in the nation's capital with a (3-0) record, a 0.35 ERA, 2.52 FIP, eight walks (2.77 BB/9) and 19 Ks (6.58 K/9) in eight games, two starts and 26 IP in Nationals Park since he made his MLB debut last season.
Over that stretch, the right-hander held opposing hitters to a .183/.248/.204 line when toeing the rubber in D.C.
So far in the majors, before this afternoon's outing, the former Texas Rangers' prospect acquired in the July 2010 trade that sent shortstop Cristian Guzman to Arlington, was (8-1) overall with a 2.21 ERA, 2.92 FIP, 19 walks (3.04 BB/9) and 58 Ks (6.75 K/9) in 18 games, nine starts and 77 1/3 IP over which he'd held the opposition to a .242/.298/.333 line as a starter.
Facing the Padres for the first time today, Roark got off to a good start...
1st: Everth Cabrera was 4 for 11 in the first in the first two games of the series after going 3 for 5 last night. He was 0 for 1 today after grounding out to second on the first pitch from Tanner Roark. Chris Denorfia hit the fourth pitch of the game back to the mound for out no.2 and Will Venable went down swinging at a 73 mph 1-2 curve to end a nine-pitch, 1-2-3 inning by the Nats' right-handed starter.
2nd: Jedd Gyorko was robbed of a hit by a diving Anthony Rendon, who managed to pull in a sharp grounder before popping up and firing a strike to Adam LaRoche at first. Rendon handled another grounder off Yonder Alonso's bat for out no.2 and Tanner Roark took care of Alexi Amarista, getting the Padres' center fielder looking with an 0-2 fastball to end a 12-pitch, 1-2-3 second. 21 pitches total after two for Roark.
WATCH: Anthony Rendon. Diving stop. Must see: http://t.co/pketLOosne— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) April 26, 2014
3rd: Jace Peterson went down swinging at an 0-2 curve. K no.3. Catcher Rene Rivera flew out to deep right field where Jayson Werth made the catch. Andrew Cashner stepped in next and took a 1-2 fastball for a called strike three. K no.4. 9 up, 9 down. 13-pitch inning for Roark, 34 total after two.
4th: Everth Cabrera took a 3-2 fastball for a called strike three. Chris Denorfia lined sharply to first where Adam LaRoche caught the second out of the fourth. Will Venable rolled the third out of the inning to Danny Espinosa at second and Tanner Roark was through the first 12 batters without allowing a hit. 13-pitch fourth, 47 total. 12 up, 12 down.
5th: Jedd Gyorko was robbed on an amazingly good backhand play by Anthony Rendon on a sharp grounder to third. Yonder Alonso grounded out to second. Alexi Amarista squared to bunt on the first pitch from Tanner Roark in his two-out at bat, then grounded out to first on the second. Six-pitch inning, 53 overall after five. 15 up, 15 down.
6th: Jace Peterson grounded sharply to second on the first pitch of the sixth. Padres' catcher Rene Rivera took a 1-2 curve to center and... just out of Danny Espinosa's reach to end Tanner Roark's no-hit bid. Andrew Cashner grounded to first in the next at bat, and Adam LaRoche bobbled it before tossing the ball to first too late. Two on, one out. Everth Cabrera flew out to Kevin Frandsen in foul territory in left for out no.2 and Chris Denorfia flew out to center field to end Roark's sixth scoreless inning after 15 pitches. 68 total after six.
7th: Will Venable K'd swinging through a 1-2 fastball to start the Padres' seventh. Jedd Gyorko took a first-pitch fastball to left via the third base line for San Diego's second hit of the game. Yonder Alonson flew out to left for out no.2, and Alexi Amarista's swinging K on a filthy 1-2 curve ended Roark's seventh scoreless. 10-pitch inning. 78 pitches overall after seven.
8th: Jace Peterson grounded weakly back to the mound on a 1-2 changeup from Roark. Pinch hitter Yasmani Grandal took a one-out walk, Roark's first of the day, but was quickly erased when Xavier Nady grounded into an inning-ending 6-4-3. 12-pitch inning. 90 pitches total after eight.
9th: Everth Cabrera rolled a weak groundout to short that Ian Desmond handled. Chris Denorfia hit a one-out single through short for the Padres' third hit of the game. Will Venable bunted for some reason and was thrown out at first for out no.2. Jedd Gyorko fell behind 0-2 quickly and 31,590 fans cheered Roark on as he went to a 2-2 count and struck the Padres' second baseman out to end it.
Roark's line: 9.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 Ks, 105 P, 73 S, 14/3 GO/FO.
2. Nats vs Cashner: Andrew Cashner, 27, was a Cubs' first rounder in 2008. San Diego acquired the right-hander in the 2012 trade that sent Anthony Rizzo to Chicago. In seven games and two starts against the Nationals before today, the 6'6' righty was (2-1) with a 5.65 ERA in 14 1/3 IP, over which he held Nats' batters to a .255/.323/.364 line.
Cashner took the mound today with 2.10 ERA through five 2014 starts in which he'd held opposing hitters to a .210 BAA. The Nationals got to Cashner early today, however, putting three runs on the board in the bottom of the first, though two were unearned after an error by second baseman Jedd Gyorko put two on with one out.
Cashner settled in after that, completing four scoreless innings to keep things close. The Nationals loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth, but Danny Espinosa popped out to end the frame without further damage done.
Denard Span's RBI single in the bottom of the sixth brought Kevin Frandsen in from second to make it 4-0 Nationals.
Cashner's line: 6.0 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 5 Ks, 99 P, 73 S, 6/4 GO/FO.
1. CG/SO: Tanner Roark ended up giving up three hits total today including the one on which he lost his no-hit bid in the sixth, but he needed just 78 pitches to get through seven innings of work and 90 to get through eight before finishing up the complete game shutout of the Padres. 4-0 Nationals final.
Nationals now 14-11