Tanner Roark hadn’t given up a home run since April 24th before Gerardo Parra hit a three-run blast to right in the top of the second, putting the Washington Nationals up 3-0 early in the second of three with the Reds in Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park this afternoon.
Roark had only allowed two home runs on the season before today, in 56 1⁄3 IP, but big Nats’ slugger Matt Adams hit the second homer of the game in the fourth, putting the Nationals up 4-1, before Roark hit the first home run of his career in the bottom of the inning to make it a two-run game, 4-2.
Erick Fedde went 4+ innings in his third start of the year, and relievers Matt Grace, Tanner Rainey, Wander Suero, and Sean Doolittle combined for five scoreless as the Nats evened things up in what ended up a 5-2 win over the Reds.
Rubber match tomorrow at 1:10 PM EDT in GABP...
Fedde vs the Reds: After posting a 3.38 ERA in 10 games and 5 2⁄3 IP out of the bullpen early this season, Erick Fedde moved back into the rotation, and the 26-year-old right-hander had a 0.90 ERA (1 ER in 10 IP) in his first two starts and 10 IP as part of the Nats’ rotation before a third start in Cincinnati today.
Fedde said after he tossed five scoreless against Miami last time out that he’s felt much more comfortable now that he’s starting again.
“100%,” he said. “Just feeling more natural up here. Back to playing the same game, and I definitely feel comfortable and seeing success obviously is a great thing.”
Fedde’s third start of the season began with a double to left-center by Nick Senzel. One out later, Trea Turner bobbled a grounder to short while thinking about trying to cut down the lead runner at third, leaving runners on the corners before a walk to Derek Dietrich loaded them up in front of Jesse Winker, who sent a grounder to second to start an inning-ending 4-6-3.
A one-out walk by José Iglesias, a single to left by Tucker Barnhart, and a safety squeeze by Reds’ starter Tanner Roark, brought in Cincinnati’s first run in the bottom of the second, 3-1, a half-inning after the Nationals jumped out to a three-run lead.
Back-to-back singles in the third gave the Reds runners on first and third with no one out, but Fedde threw a 1-2 breaking ball by Yasiel Puig for out No. 1, and got a 6-4-3 DP in the next at bat.
Roark hit a first-pitch sinker out to left-center in the bottom of the fourth, connecting on his first career home run, 4-2 Nationals at that point.
Fedde gave up a leadoff single in the bottom of the fifth, on his 86th pitch, and Nationals’ manager Davey Martinez went to the pen at that point...
Erick Fedde’s Line: 4.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 Ks, 1 HR, 85 P, 47 S, 7/2 GO/FO.
Roark vs the Nationals: Tanner Roark was caught off guard by this winter’s trade to the Reds, telling reporters after he was dealt to Cincinnati that it definitely a surprise.
“Surprised, but it’s the name of the game,” Roark said in a conference call from the 2018 MLB Winter Meetings in Las Vegas.
“This is the way this business is,” he added. “So I’m a Cincinnati Red now, so pretty excited.”
In his first 11 starts and 56 1⁄3 IP for the Reds, Roark put up a 3.20 ERA, a 3.00 FIP, 24 walks, and 59 Ks, holding opposing hitters to a combined .258/.341/.355 line.
Going up against his former team for the first time this afternoon, Roark tossed a quick, scoreless first, but a leadoff single by Anthony Rendon, a one-out single by Brian Dozier, and a one-out, three-run homer to right by Gerardo Parra in the second, on a 1-2 fastball Roark left up and in, put the visiting team up 3-0 early in the 2nd of 3 in GABP.
The Parra home run off Roark was the first the Reds’ starter had allowed since April 24th, a span of 33 1⁄3 IP, and just the second he’d allowed in 56 1⁄3 IP this season before today. Matt Adams hit the second home run of the game in the top of the fourth, taking Roark deep to right field on a 1-0 fastball that reached the back row of the bleachers on a hop and put the Nationals up 4-1.
Roark helped his own cause with his first career home run in the fourth, and he tossed a scoreless fifth to keep it a two-run game, 4-2 Nationals.
He worked around a one-out single in the sixth, and the Reds hit for him on the bottom of the inning...
Tanner Roark’s Line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 6 Ks, 2 HRs, 89 P, 57 S, 3/5 GO/FO.
Soto is Streaking: Juan Soto extended his career-best 14-game hit streak in last night’s series opener in Cincinnati.
Soto, 20, was now 25 for 53 (.472 AVG) over the course of his streak heading into tonight’s game, with seven doubles, a triple, four home runs, eight walks, and 15 runs scored.
The streak has taken the Nationals’ outfielder from .228/.345/.415 line to .301/.401/.551 overall on the season after his 3 for 4 night in the first of three with the Reds in Great American Ball Park.
Soto was 0 for 3 with a K against Tanner Roark, and he struck out in the eighth on a filthy, 2-2 slider from left-hander Amir Garrett, 0 for 4, 2 Ks. Streak over. Long live the streak.
BULLPEN ACTION: Matt Grace took over with a runner on and no one out in the fifth and gave up a single to right by Derek Dietrich, but he got a double play from Jesse Winker for the first two outs of the inning.
Tanner Rainey took over with a runner on third and two out in the Reds’ fifth and got the final out, then worked around a one-out walk for a scoreless bottom of the sixth as well.
Michael Lorenzen overpowered the Nationals in a quick top of the seventh.
Wander Suero took the mound with a two-run lead in the Reds’ half of the seventh and worked around a one-out single for a scoreless frame.
Lorenzen got the first out of the eighth, then Amir Garrett worked around a two-out walk to Anthony Rendon to keep it a two-run game.
Suero returned to the mound in the eighth and retired the Reds in order to complete two scoreless on 30 pitches. Still 4-2 Nationals.
Brian Dozier added an insurance run with a solo shot to left off right-hander Matt Bowman in the top of the ninth, 5-2.
Sean Doolittle got the ninth for the Nationals and retired the Reds in order to end it.
Nationals now 25-33