The Washington Nationals had an offensive explosion on Friday night against the Padres on the way to an 11-1 rout. The story on Saturday was Tanner Roark’s perfect game through five and one-third innings, and his shutout on just 105 pitches, as the Nats walked away with a 4-0 victory.
Roark had all of his pitches going early on. So well, in fact, that he retired the first 16 batters he faced. After taking the perfect game into the sixth inning, behind some stellar defensive plays by Anthony Rendon, he allowed Rene Rivera to hit a soft liner up the middle for the first Padres base runner of the day.
After allowing Andrew Cashner to reach on an error by Adam LaRoche, Roark got out of the inning without any further damage while still tossing a one-hit shutout through six innings on just 68 pitches.
Roark only allowed two more hits in the remaining three innings, making it a three-hit shutout. It’s exactly what the Nats needed to give their bullpen a rest and string back-to-back wins together for the first time since April 9-10.
The bats got hot again early for the home team with the help of some Padres defensive miscues. After singles by Anthony Rendon and Jayson Werth, Adam LaRoche singled to right, scoring Rendon and moving Werth to third on a throwing error. Ian Desmond doubled, scoring Werth and moving LaRoche from first to third. Then, Danny Espinosa lined one to deep center, a sacrifice fly that scored LaRoche. And just like that, it was 3-0 after only an inning.
Later, in the sixth inning, Denard Span drove in Kevin Frandsen after Fransen reached on a single to lead off the inning, extending the Nats lead to 4-0.
– Tanner Roark had the best outing of his career, and the best start by a Nats pitcher all season, on Saturday. The Padres are among the worst offensive teams in the game, but Roark was able to do what he wanted with the baseball all game, commanded the zone, and threw a whole lot of strikes. He’s clearly cemented himself as the Nats fifth starter when Doug Fister makes his debut next month.
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)