Tanner Roark came out of the All-Star break with eight scoreless innings on the mound against the Pittsburgh Pirates last Saturday night in the nation's capital.
Nationals' skipper Dusty Baker gave Washington's 29-year-old starter a chance to complete the game, but pulled him once Roark let the first two runners on in the ninth.
"He was great," Baker told reporters after the win.
"His two-seamer was coming back on the outside. It looked like they didn't see it. He had great command of his fastball. He threw some outstanding sliders. What can you say? He's given us everything we want."
That outing left Roark with wins in six of his last nine starts (and one relief appearance) over which he was (6-1) with a 2.92 ERA, 12 walks, 48 Ks and a .256/.300/.323 line against in his last 61 ⅔ IP.
One of those wins was over the San Diego Padres.
In his outing in Petco Park earlier this season, Roark gave up seven hits and four runs in what ended up an 8-5 win.
Tonight in the nation's capital, Roark, who hadn't allowed a home run since the Nationals were in Los Angeles, (31 ⅓ IP), in the series after they took on the Padres, gave up two in five innings, both by Matt Kemp, as the Nats fell behind, 5-2 after five, in what ended up a 5-3 series opening loss.
Matt Kemp hit 3-1 fastball from Roark into the left field bullpen for a two-out blast in the first, 1-0, extending the Padres' streak of games with home runs to 20-straight with his 21st on the year, but the Nationals tied it up in the home-half of the inning when Jayson Werth hit a low 1-2 fastball from Luis Perdomo into the Red Porch seats on a line, 1-1.
Bryce Harper walked with two out in the first, stole his 13th base of the season and scored on an opposite field single to right by Wilson Ramos that gave the Nationals a 2-1 lead.
Brett Wallace reached base on a HBP, moved up on a sac bunt and scored on a two-out single to left by Melvin Upton, Jr. as the Padres tied things up at 2-2 in the fifth. Ryan Schimpf took a two-out walk in from of Kemp, who 2-1 fastball out to left-center for a three-run blast that made it 5-2 Padres. Kemp's second of the night, 22nd of the season.
• Tanner Roark's Line: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 4 Ks, 2 HRs, 93 P, 54 S, 4/6 GO/FO.
Felipe Rivero took over on the mound for Roark in the top of the sixth, throwing a quick scoreless frame, and the left-hander came back out a scoreless seventh to keep it a three-run game.
Oliver Perez worked a scoreless top of the eighth.
Luis Perdomo gave up just two runs total in seven innings pitched, leaving the game after throwing 100 pitches total on the night.
Daniel Murphy took one-time Marlins' pitcher Brad Hand deep on a 2-2 slider in the bottom of the eighth, sending his 19th of the season over the out-of-town scoreboard in right to make it a two-run game, 5-3 Padres, but that was as close as the Nationals would get.
San Diego took the series opener in D.C., 5-3.
Nationals now 57-40
- San Diego last a game last night that they led after seven innings for the first time this season, leaving them 34-1 on the year when they have a lead after seven.
- San Diego is 40-33 against Washington in the all-time series between the two teams (2005-present), but the Nationals are 19-11 against the Padres since 2012.
- Entering play tonight, the Padres had a streak of 19-straight games in which they've hit a home run, the longest such streak in the National League this season. Matt Kemp hit a solo shot in the first to extend that streak to 20-straight.
- Matt Kemp and Will Myers started the night leading the Padres with 20 homers each so far this season. Melvin Upton, Jr is third on the team with 16 home runs. Kemp hit his 21st in the first inning.
- Jayson Werth doubled in the eighth inning last night, giving him a 25-game on-base streak. He has 20 hits and 23 walks over the course of his streak. He extended his on-base streak to 26-straight with a one-out home run in the 1st.
- Heading into play today, Nationals' infielder Daniel Murphy has an eight-game hit streak over which he's 12 for 20 (.400 AVG) with five doubles and four home runs.
- Murphy started the night leading the NL in AVG (.350) doubles (28) and multi-hit games (39).
- In today's San Diego-themed "Fun with Arbitrary End Points" segment, Padres' infielder Yangervis Solarte is 36 for 104 (.346 AVG) with 10 doubles, six home runs and 16 runs scored... in 27 games since June 18th.
- Padres' infielder Ryan Schimpf is 15 for 49 (.306 AVG) with four doubles, a triple and seven home runs so far in July.
- In a bonus Padres-themed "Fun with Arbitrary End Points" segment: Will Myers is 48 for 163 (.294/.397/.613) with 11 doubles and 13 HRs... since June 1st.
Nationals now 57-40