Tanner Roark took losses in three of his last five starts before facing the Arizona D-backs in Chase Field on Thursday night, with the Washington Nationals 1-4 in those outings, over which the 31-year-old right-hander had a 3.38 ERA, 11 walks, 26 Ks, and a .202/.281/.368 line against in 32 1⁄3 IP.
Roark gave up six hits, three walks, and three earned runs in 6 1⁄3 innings last time out, with nine Ks from the 27 batters he faced in what ended up a 3-1 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies.
Davey Martinez, in an attempt to give his bullpen a break, took Roark up to 115 pitches total in that outing, a season-high for the right-hander.
“I go until they take me out of the game,” Roark told reporters after that start.
“So, I just dug deep and ... gave it the best I’ve got for the 115 pitches that I threw.”
“The bullpen needed a little day today,” he added. “So I just tried my best, did my best and went out there and gave it all I’ve got.”
The outing against the Phillies left Roark (2-3) in seven starts with a 3.65 ERA, 4.59 FIP, 16 walks (3.25 BB/9), 41 Ks (8.32 K/9), and a .201/.282/.373 line against in 44 1⁄3 IP on the year.
He ended up throwing 107 total Thursday night against the D-backs, his second-highest total this season, and the sixth 100+ pitch outing in eight starts so far.
Roark held the D-backs to one run on four hits, with an RBI single by the opposing pitcher, Zack Greinke, driving in the only run he surrendered in a solid start in the series opener in Arizona.
Roark and Greinke each went seven innings, and each starter gave up just four hits and one earned run, with Roark striking out four and Greinke collecting six Ks in what ended up a 2-1 win for the Nationals in extra innings.
“That’s a great win against an unbelievable opponent,” Martinez told reporters in Chase Field after the game.
“I mean, really. Greinke was awesome and Tanner was awesome. So it was a great game all the way around, at the end we came out on top.”
“He had kind of that little comeback two-seamer to the lefties, he had an aggressive fastball that was down on the edges, and his slider seemed like it had good depth,” D-backs’ skipper Torey Lovullo told reporters when asked what made Roark so tough for his hitters.
“I think that that pitch was kind of keeping a few guys off-balance,” Lovullo added, referring to the slider.
“But he has a lot of mound presence and poise, he doesn’t get rattled, and he deserves some credit, he kept us down tonight.”
Roark lowered his ERA to 3.33 on the season after the outing, to go along with a 4.29 FIP, he avoided any walks, and added the four Ks for 45 total (7.89 K/9), and he ended the night with a .196/.271/.344 line against after 51 1⁄3 innings.