In spite of his struggles against the Marlins this season (0-3 in three starts with an 8.04 ERA and a .353/.429/.500 line against in 15 innings pitched before tonight), Nationals' starter Tanner Roark told reporters after his last outing against Washington's divisional rivals that he didn't plan on making big changes based on the early results.
Roark shrugged it off as "one of those games", according to MASN's Mark Zuckerman, but he didn't have any answers as to what had gone wrong.
"I’m still pitching my game," he said. "I’m not going to change. I’m still going to attack the hitters and go after them. So I don’t have any answers for you. It is what it is."
Roark was able to exorcise his Marlins demons tonight, in what ended up a 4-1 victory in which he was the winning pitcher.
His fourth start against Miami this season began with a relatively quick, seven-pitch first, and by the time he took the mound for the bottom of the second, he had a 4-0 lead, courtesy of a solo home run by Ryan Zimmerman (No. 5), an RBI double to left by Wilson Ramos, and a two-out, two-run, home run to left by Michael A. Taylor (No. 4).
Miami got on the board with a solo home run to left by Marcell Ozuna on a 3-2 change from Roark in the fourth, after he battled Roark for nine pitches, 4-1, but Roark held it there through five, throwing 83 pitches total to the 21 batters that he faced.
Roark was up to 95 pitches and seven strikeouts after he added two Ks in a 12-pitch, 1-2-3 sixth and he came back out for the seventh, but a two-out walk to pinch hitter Cole Gillespie ended his outing after 108 pitches.
Felipe Rivero gave up a single to left by Derek Dietrich, but a groundout to the mound from Martin Prado ended the Marlins' seventh.
• Tanner Roark's Line: 6.2 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 Ks, 1 HR, 108 P, 72 S, 10/1 GO/FO.
Rivero came back out to face Christian Yelich in the Marlins' eighth, and gave up a line drive single to right.
Shawn Kelley came out to face Giancarlo Stanton, who was 0 for 3 with two Ks tonight and 0 for 13 overall going back to a home run on May 15th in Washington. Stanton struck out on a 3-2 slider for out No. 1 of the frame and his third K of the game, and Marcell Ozuna lined out to second, hanging Yelich out to dry. 4-3 DP.
Jonathan Papelbon took over in the ninth with a three-run lead and earned save No. 12 in 14 opportunities with a quick, 10-pitch ninth. Ballgame. 4-1 Nationals final.
Nationals now 26-16
• NATS NOTES:
- Justin Nicolino started the night (0-2) in two career starts against the Nationals, with a 9.58 ERA. Tanner Roark took the mound with a (2-7) record and a 4.63 ERA against the Marlins in his career.
- Miami has the fifth-highest winning percentage in the majors against teams at or above .500 so far this season.
- Miami and Washington split the first ten games this season heading into this weekend's three-game set.
- Nationals' pitchers had held opponents to a .224 AVG so far this season, before tonight, behind only the Chicago Cubs, who had held opposing hitters to a .200 AVG, but as the Marlins mentioned in their notes on tonight's game, Miami's hitters have put up a .254 AVG against Washington's pitchers this season.
- Marlins' center fielder Marcell Ozuna started the night with hits in 17 of his last 18 games, over which he's gone 28 for 71 (.394 AVG). He also started the night with a 10-game hit streak in Marlins Park. He extended that to 11 games with a solo home run in the fourth.
- Daniel Murphy's multi-hit game against the New York Mets last night gave him 20 multi-hit games in his first 40 games played this season.
- Murphy started the night leading the majors in average (.397) and mult-hit games.
- Bryce Harper started the three-game set in Miami leading the majors in walks (45), and he's taken walks in 22 of 40 games played this season.
- In today's Miami-themed "Fun with Arbitrary End Points" segment: Marlins' catcher J.T. Realmuto is 31 for 81 (.383 AVG) with eight doubles, two home runs and 10 runs scored... since April 24th, leading all MLB catchers in average, hits and OBP over that stretch.
- In today's Washington-themed "Fun with Arbitrary End Points" segment, the Nationals are 51-34 against the Marlins since the Florida Marlins became the "Miami" Marlins in 2012.
- In a bonus "Fun with Arbitrary End Points" segment, Wilson Ramos is 19 for 53 (.358 AVG) with three doubles and two home runs... since he returned from the bereavement list on May 3rd.
Nationals now 26-16