After taking the series opener last night, the Nationals made it two straight over the Minnesota Twins this afternoon, with a 2-0 win in the second Interleague game of three this weekend in Washington, D.C.
Tanner Roark toed the rubber for the home squad, and he brought his swing and miss stuff with him, striking out 12 of the first 19 batters he faced to set a career high K total with two out in the fifth. He did, however, throw 96 pitches over five innings.
Roark added two more Ks for 14 total on 108 pitches in six scoreless vs the Twins and he came back out for the top of the seventh and added one more strikeout for 15 total on 121 pitches in seven scoreless frames.
• Tanner Roark's Line: 7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 15 Ks, 121 P, 78 S, 2/1 GO/FO.
Washington jumped out to an early lead on the Twins and right-hander Phil Hughes in the bottom of the first inning.
Anthony Rendon singled to right with one down, took third on a double by Bryce Harper and scored ahead of the Nats' defending NL MVP on a two-run single to center by Ryan Zimmerman, 2-0.
Harper, by the way, improved to 9 for 15 with five doubles and four home runs when he steps to the plate with runners on base early this season with the two-base hit in his first at bat of the afternoon.
Hughes held them Nationals off the board through seven after giving up two in the first, but the Nationals' starter and relievers Blake Treinen, Oliver Pérez (who got two outs with four pitches) and Jonathan Papelbon closed it out.
2-0 final. Ballgame.
Nationals now 13-4
- Last night's loss left the Twins 1-8 thus far on the road in 2016, while the Nationals improved to 6-1 at home in the nation's capital. Today's loss left Minnesota 1-9 away from Target Field. [ed. note - "It's pronounced Tar-zjay."]
- Washington's 12-4 start overall matches the best start in franchise history (Montreal/Washington). The 2012 Nats were 12-4 and the 1981 Expos won 12 of their first 16 as well. Today's win gave the 2016 Nats the best start in franchise history.
- Minnesota was 8-5 all time vs the Montreal/Washington franchise after last night's loss, and they've now dropped four straight to the Nationals going back to 2013. Make it five.
- Joe Mauer is now 234 for 718 career in Interleague games (.326 AVG). He started the day with a 17-game on-base streak going, having reached base in all 17 games the Twins have played this season. He extended it to 18-straight on-base with a single in his first at bat.
- Before facing Tanner Roark today, the Twins were 117 for 467 (.251 AVG) against right-handed pitchers this season.
- Heading into today's matchup, Washington's starters had a combined 2.36 ERA, the second-lowest ERA in the majors, behind only the Chicago Cubs' staff's 2.13 ERA
- Bryce Harper started the day 8 for 14 with four doubles and four home runs in at bats with runners on base early this season.
- Did you hear? Tanner Roark set a career-high in Ks with 15 total on the day. It's totally because he shaved his beard. You heard it here first. The Nats' combined 18 Ks is the most in a single game in Nationals' history (2005-present).
Nationals now 13-4