Tanner Roark gave up seven hits, two walks and four earned runs in seven innings in a workmanlike performance in the series opener in San Diego. Washington's 29-year-old righty gave up two runs early, but the Nationals rallied to his aid, scoring a run in the second and three in the third, then answering the Padres' attempts to get back in the game.
Roark threw a total of 104 pitches in the six-inning effort and earned the win (W, 6-4). He wasn't exactly sharp by his own admission.
"Felt like I wasn't aggressive enough," he told reporters after the Nats' 8-5 win.
"Kind of tentative. Getting behind hitters. Not making pitches when I needed to, but we came out swinging and we got runs on the board and kept it going. Great team win after a long flight out here, so it's good to get the first one."
"Tanner was good," Dusty Baker said. "He was good. Tanner always battles. He always battles. I'm just glad we got the victory for him, because he had lost a couple victories early in the year, that somebody else got a couple of his wins. But Tanner's a guy that -- he's a fighter and to be a quality big league pitcher, you've got to be a fighter. And Tanner is definitely that."
Blake Treinen tossed a scoreless seventh, working around a walk and a single. Felipe Rivero worked around a leadoff walk in the eighth, then came back out for the ninth and allowed a leadoff single and one-out double that prompted the Nationals' manager to go to the pen again.
Shawn Kelley came on and gave up a sac fly that got the Padres within three, at 8-5, but got out No. 3 on a groundout to second that ended the game.
"We were trying to stay away from [Kelley]," Baker explained, "because he had gone an inning and two-thirds yesterday, which means I don't know if he'll be available tomorrow.
"But Felipe threw the ball excellent in the eighth inning and then in the ninth he got in trouble.
"He's having little internal struggles on why he's not doing better, which we all have at some point in time. So Kelley got the save in the ninth but more importantly, we got the victory. Started off this road trip, which is a tough road trip.
"And it's just guys are operating kind of on empty, cause we got in late last night again on our body clock time, being on the East Coast and then coming here and after a very, very emotional day yesterday and so, hopefully we'll get some rest tonight and then get back to work tomorrow."
Baker turned the ball over to Kelley in the ninth, and explained after the game that he'll continue to while Nats' closer Jonathan Papelbon is on the DL.
"He showed us that he wants the ball," Baker said, after he initially expressed some reservations about Kelley filling the role this week.
Going forward, however, and subject to Kelley's availability, he's going to get the ball when save opportunities arise.
"This is what we settled upon," Baker explained. "[Pitching coach] Mike [Maddux] and I talked about it and we think he's best suited for that until [Papelbon] gets back, but again, like I said, he's thrown two days in a row and I doubt if he'll be in that situation tomorrow.
"He said he'd love to do it again. He'll never not take the ball, but sometimes we have to take it from him."
Kelley earned his second save of the season and finished the night with a 2.45 ERA, a 2.12 FIP, six walks (2.10 BB/9) and 35 Ks (12.27 K/9) in 25 ⅔ innings.