Roark fought without best stuff to keep Nats in game

Right-hander Tanner Roark’s velocity was down and he was walking too many guys.

But you look up at the final line score and the most important stat of the night?

He allowed the Marlins only two runs.

Down 2-0, the Nats came back to beat the Marlins 3-2 on a Brian Goodwin solo shot and Andrew Stevenson’s spectacular, game-ending, diving catch.

roark-pitching-white-sidebar.jpgRoark kept his club in the game despite five walks. The big blow was another Giancarlo Stanton homer. His two-run shot in the third gave the Marlins a 2-0 lead.

Roark then walked Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna took his place at first base on a fielder’s choice. Roark then retired the next two batters to end the inning.

In the fifth he got in more hot water. A walk, a double and an intentional walk loaded the bases with two outs. Roark induced a Tyler Moore grounder to short to stop that threat.

Manager Dusty Baker said it was a familiar start for Roark, who finished with 107 pitches, 68 for strikes.

“I looked up there and they had two runs early in the game and left eight men on base,” Baker said. “So, he was wiggling his way out of trouble. He kept us in the game, which is what Tanner’s known for.”

Asked whether his lower-than-usual velocity bothered him, he said no, and that he knows how to adjust when he doesn’t have his best fastball.

“No worry. I’ve been pitching for a while, so maybe most of the times, early in my career I wouldn’t have noticed that, but I found out in the third inning,” Roark said. “So just relax and hit your spots and don’t try to blow it by these guys. These guys have seen me a bunch throughout my career, so just make your pitch and hit your spot. Execute and everything else after that, just let it be.”

“Just one of those nights,” he said. “I didn’t have the velocity, so I had to hit my spots and locate. Found that out in the third inning, not try to overthrow and hit my spots. It’s a long season. I got an extra day on Monday to get some good rest.”

Roark said he is used to the kind of start in which he has to fight, in which his stamina and determination to finish the inning come into play.

“I pride myself off those kind of starts because they’re not all going to be starts where you’re breezing through,” Roark said. “You have five starts like that all year. Your other starts, you’ll have your bad ones, your really, really bad ones, and then you’ll have the ones you’ll have to battle altogether. That’s what I believe makes who you are as a pitcher. The ones in between the good ones and the bad ones.”

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