Tanner Roark had his five-game (four-start) unbeaten streak snapped in his last outing before tonight’s matchup with the Giants in San Francisco’s AT&T Park.
Over that unbeaten stretch he was (3-0) with a 1.72 ERA and a stingy .245/.284/.264 line against in 31 ⅓ innings pitched, over which he avoided giving up a single home run.
He gave up two, both by Matt Kemp, in five innings of work, and surrendered five runs total on four hits in what ended up a 5-3 loss to the San Diego Padres this past weekend, however, falling to (9-6) on the year after the 93-pitch effort in the nation’s capital.
“He wasn't sharp tonight,” Nats’ skipper Dusty Baker told reporters after that game.
“That's why we went and got him so early. Cause usually he goes deeper in a game than that, but he had 90-something pitches in five and usually that's not Tanner.
“He made a couple mistakes, threw the ball up and in the middle to Kemp, that really hurt, that three-run homer. Had some untimely walks. It happens sometimes.
“It happens to the best of them. Tanner has been, other than this game tonight, Tanner has been lights out."
Roark was pretty much lights out in tonight’s series-opening 4-2 win over the Giants on Thursday night too, though he found himself in a tough spot early.
Buster Posey doubled to start the home-half of the second, after the Nationals jumped out to a 3-0 lead, and back-to-back walks by Roark loaded the bases with no one out.
Roark struck Mac Williamson out though, then got a groundout from Conor Gillaspie that brought in a run, but the Nats’ starter was able to limit the damage to that one, popping up the opposing pitcher, Johnny Cueto, to end the threat.
That was the only run Roark allowed in seven innings of work. He also drove in a run with an RBI single when the Nationals rallied against Cueto with two out in the second.
The Giants wasted a one-out triple in the fourth, and stranded two in the fifth after the Nationals’ right-hander gave up a single and a walk with one down.
He was done for the night after giving up just four hits in a 111-pitch start that ended with a backwards K as the Giants stranded a runner in the home-half of the seventh inning.
Tanner Roark’s Line: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 Ks, 0 HR, 111P, 64 S, 7/8 GO/FO.
Sammy Solis worked around a leadoff walk in a scoreless 20-pitch eighth.
Jonathan Papelbon came out for the ninth, but after he gave up a one-out hit on a soft line drive to left and a walk to bring the tying run to the plate, Baker went to the bullpen for Oliver Perez vs right-handed pinch hitter Trevor Brown.
Perez walked him to load the bases with one down.
Gregor Blanco grounded sharply to third in the next at bat, but Anthony Rendon bobbled it before throwing to second where Danny Espinosa too bobbled the ball, allowing a run to score without an out being recorded, 4-2.
Perez got Denard Span swinging for out No.2 thought, and Shawn Kelley came on to strike out Angel Pagan.
"Tanner was outstanding,” Baker told reporters after the Nationals’ 60th and Roark’s 10th wins of the season.
Baker was asked what was different for Roark this time out after he struggled against the Padres.
"Specifically, he got out of some jams,” Baker said. “He was throwing quite a few breaking balls which isn't really him too much and he got out of a couple jams with runners on third, less than two outs and that's big when you do that because you see we end up winning the game by two runs and if those two runs score on a sacrifice fly or whatever it it, then it would be a different ballgame.
“The good thing is this guy comes out to pitch, and he wants it, he even drove and finally we got some two out hits. I think most of our hits were with two outs and got a couple two-out RBIs, maybe that's the start of something good for our offense."