Tanner Roark was winless in four starts in May before he went seven strong against Seattle back on May 24th, giving up just one run in a 5-1 win over the Mariners. He followed up on that outing with seven scoreless against the San Francisco Giants in what ended up a 3-0 win in AT&T Park that was overshadowed somewhat by Bryce Harper and Hunter Strickland’s on-field brawl.
Dusty Baker mentioned Roark’s effort against the Giants before he would talk about the Harper/Strickland brouhaha in his post game press conference last Monday.
“Tanner threw an outstanding game,” Baker said. “I mean he’s getting himself back right again. The last couple starts have been like Tanner.”
Roark started the season (3-0) in five starts with a 3.64 ERA, nine walks (2.73 BB/9), 21 Ks (6.73 K/9) and a .232/.301/.321 line against in 29 2⁄3 innings pitched.
He went (0-2) over his next four outings, with a 6.23 ERA, 12 walks (4.98 BB/9), 21 Ks (8.72 K/9) and a .265/.358/.422 line against in 21 2⁄3 IP over what stretch.
Sunday afternoon in Oakland, Roark tried to make it three straight wins.
He gave up a long double to center field by Khris Davis in the A’s second, and two groundouts brought the first run around, 1-0, but it was the only one Roark allowed through five innings of work.
Trea Turner drove in two runs with a triple in the top of the sixth, and scored on a sac fly by Brian Goodwin to give Roark a 3-1 lead to work with after five and a half.
Roark retired the A’s in order in the sixth, setting his tenth straight batter down overall.
He was up to 15 of 16 set down after Davis’s double in the second, but a leadoff hit by Jed Lowrie in the seventh ended that streak and a first-pitch change to Khris Davis ended up bouncing off the foul pole in left for a game-tying, two-run blast, 3-3.
Ryan Zimmerman hit a three-run blast in the top of the eighth inning, 6-3, so Roark came back out for the bottom of the inning, but was lifted with two down after giving up a two-out single by Matt Joyce and an RBI double by Chad Pinder that made it a two-run game, 6-4.
Tanner Roark’s Line vs Athletics: 7.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 Ks, 105 P, 72 S, 10/7 GO/FO.
Baker went to Koda Glover, who recorded the final out of the A’s eighth, but after the Nationals scored five runs in a long top of the ninth, 11-4, the manager sent Glover out again and he struggled, loading the bases and giving up a run on four straight singles, and then walking in a run before he was done, 11-6.
A Matt Joyce grand slam off Shawn Kelley made it a one-run game, but the Nationals held on for the win, 11-10.
“[Roark] was in control,” Baker said after the game.
“He threw Davis a changeup that stayed inside where he likes it and he hits the foul pole, and fortunately for us and him that we came back and got the three runs before he came out of the game. You could tell they were starting to hit him too. That’s why we had to go get Koda in the eighth, because they were threatening and they hit two balls hard and he had 105 or 106 pitches, so phew, boy, I’m just glad we won.”
“I felt good the whole game,” Roark told reporters, including MASN’s Mark Zuckerman, after earning his sixth win of the season.
“It was just two bad pitches that I should have had more focus on that cost the four runs. But we won. I guess that’s all that matters.”
Baker was asked if he thought twice about sending Glover back out for the ninth.
“What choices to do you have, you know what I mean?” he asked rhetorically.
“We didn’t want to use up a whole bunch of our bullpen either. Since he was already warm, already loose, he went back down and threw some more, but they got hits.
“There’s not always a reason or excuse why. If it happened on our end, then everybody would say, ‘Oh, man, that was a great comeback.’ But when it happens on the other side, those guys over there are trying to earn their stripes and earn their keep too, so I’m just glad that we won the game.”