Roark, Nats Overcome Slow Start; Use Big 4th for 6-4 Curly W

Photo: Washington Nationals

By Matthew Jacobson

The Nationals came from behind for the second time in as many games in this young 2017 season, defeating the Miami Marlins 6-4. The Marlins would make several comeback attempts late against the Nationals’ bullpen, but despite these efforts, they could not overcome the Nats’ four-run fourth inning.

Nationals’ starter Tanner Roark struggled in the first inning, needing 28 pitches to get the three outs while surrendering two runs (both earned). The second inning was no easier for the Nats’ righty, surrendering a walk and hitting a batter, however this time he settled down, and despite a high pitch count, got through the second inning without allowing another run. From here, Roark went into cruise control, retiring the next seven batters he faced en route to a quality start. The Washington offense took over from here, beginning with a Ryan Zimmerman solo home run in the bottom of the second, and carrying over to a big fourth inning.

Bryce Harper doubled home Adam Eaton, who had led off the inning with a walk. Daniel Murphy then hit a routine single to center field, but Nationals’ third base coach Bob Henley (affectionately known as Bob Sendley for his tendency to aggressively send runners home) very nonchalantly waved home Harper, dekeing out Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich, and allowing Harper to score with relative ease. Jayson Werth would reach on a miscommunication between Yelich and shortstop Dee Gordon, and Matt Wieters would single home Werth and Murphy, chasing Marlins starter Dan Straily after just 3 and a third innings.

Roark would finish with 6 innings pitched, giving up the two earned runs on three hits and two walks while striking out 6. Roark threw 97 pitches, including 57 strikes. He was followed by Enny Romero, who tossed a scoreless frame in relief. J.T. Realmuto would hit a solo homer leading off the top of the eighth, putting the Marlins within three runs. As mentioned earlier the Marlins would threaten with runners in scoring position in both the eighth and ninth innings, but it would be first-time Blake Treinen overcoming his first real taste of adversity, earning his second save in as many opportunities, and finishing off a 6-4 Washington victory.

Pending weather, the third and final game of this opening series will be later today at 4:05 PM. Gio Gonzalez goes for the Nats, while it’ll be Tom Koehler for the Marlins. The Nationals look for the sweep of this opening series before heading to Philadelphia for their first series on the road against the Phillies in 2017.

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