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Tanner Roark works around Giancarlo Stanton blast in Nationals’ 3-2 win over the Marlins

Tanner Roark wasn’t particularly sharp, and, by his own admission, his velocity wasn’t there, but he worked with what he had and did enough to keep it close before the Nationals took the lead...

Miami Marlins v Washington Nationals Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Tanner Roark’s last start against Miami before Thursday night didn’t go well. Roark was lifted after just 2 23 innings pitched over which he gave up six hits, two walks, and six earned runs on the mound in Marlins Park.

That outing was part of a rough stretch for the right-hander which saw him go winless over six games (five starts), with an 8.78 ERA, and a .358/.422/.558 line against in 27 23 IP.

Heading into last night’s start against the Marlins, Roark was in much better shape, with a (3-1) record in his previous four starts, a 2.96 ERA, and a .187/.275/.319 line against in 24 13 IP over that stretch.

He held the Chicago Cubs to two runs on five hits over 6 13 innings in his last outing before taking on the Fish again.

“He had a very good curveball,” Dusty Baker told reporters after the Nationals’ 4-2 win over the Cubs in Wrigley Field.

“He took something off it, which makes it hard to judge the speed and stay on it, and he spotted his fastball well, and so he was dealing.”

Roark worked around a two-out walk in the first against the Marlins last night in Nats Park, and a one-out double and two-out intentional walk gave him two scoreless to start his third outing of the season against the Fish.

Dee Gordon singled to lead off the third, however, and scored on a two-run home run to left field by Giancarlo Stanton, who got all of a 1-1 fastball from Roark, who was up to 63 pitches, down 2-0, after three.

A quick, seven-pitch fourth pushed Roark up to 70, but a 27-pitch fifth inning, in which he walked two (one intentionally), and left the bases loaded, had him up to 97 pitches overall before a 10-pitch, 1-2-3 sixth ended his outing.

Tanner Roark’s Line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 5 BB, 4 Ks, 1 HR, 107 P, 68 S, 8/3 GO/FO.

Roark’s teammates rallied to tie it in the sixth, and a Brian Goodwin home run put the Nationals ahead in what ended up a 3-2 win in which the starter received no decision.

In spite of the high walk total and pitch count, Roark managed to limit the damage to the inevitable Giancarlo Stanton home run, and he kept things close to give the Nats an opportunity to figure out Dan Straily then get to the Marlins’ bullpen.

“I looked there and they had two runs earlier in the game and they’d left eight men on base,” Baker said after the win. “He was wiggling his way out of trouble, he kept us in the game — which Tanner is known for — he kept us in the game until our offense can do something.”

Roark said he had to make do with what he had on a night he wasn’t particularly sharp.

“Just one of those nights where I didn’t have the velocity,” he explained.

“And so I had to hit my spots and locate. I found that out in the third inning, just not try to overthrow and hit my spots.”

He didn’t have any concerns about the fact that the velocity was down some overall.

“Just one of those nights, I don’t know what start it is for me, but it’s a long season, you know, so I have an extra day on Monday, so I’ll get a good rest.”

To get the win on a night when the offense struggled throughout the game, and he didn’t have his best stuff, everyone had to chip in, with Bryce Harper driving in one of two runs scored in the sixth, Brian Goodwin homering late, and even rookie outfielder Andrew Stevenson coming on as a pinch runner and staying on to make a game-ending diving catch in left.

“It’s definitely a huge win for us all together collectively,” Roark said.

“Had [three] real walks and two intentional walks, so [five] walks total, which I don’t like at all, but it is what it is, and the only thing that matters is that we won.”