By Michael Marzzacco
Jonathan Papelbon continued his ninth inning struggles last night. With the Nats up 4-1 with one out, Papelbon gave up a single to Brandon Belt and allowed a walk to Mac Williamson. Dusty Baker gave him the hook right away showing he didn’t express confidence in his veteran closer.
“We had to do what we had to do to win the ballgame,” Baker told reporters.
Oliver Perez came in hoping to get the final two outs. He surrendered a walk to load the bases and Giants scored on an infield error by shortstop Danny Espinosa. Perez regrouped himself and struck out former National Denard Span for the second out. Baker went to his bullpen again,this time bringing in reliever Shawn Kelley. Kelley finished the game and got the save striking out Angel Pagan, sealing the 4-2 win.
Tanner Roark got the win, improving his record to 10-6. Roark went seven innings allowing one run on four hits with three strikeouts.
Washington’s three run second inning was key in the victory. Wilson Ramos led off with a single. Two batters later with two outs, Ryan Zimmerman kept the inning alive with a single. With runners on first and second, Espinosa drove home Ramos with a base hit into centerfield. Roark helped his own cause with a single up the middle that sent Zimmerman home. Trea Turner followed with a base hit up the middle that scored Espinosa putting Washington ahead 3-0. San Francisco scored in the bottom of the inning on a fielder’s choice.
In the sixth with Turner on first, Bryce Harper smacked a double to the left field corner. The base hit scored Turner and gave the Nats a 4-1 lead.
Game two of the series is tonight at 10:15. The pitching matchup will feature Max Scherzer (10-6, 2.92 ERA) and Jeff Samardzija (9-6, 4.22 ERA).