Williams wins a challenge, Harper makes a play, Roark pitches well (Nats lose 3-1)


Score: Mets 3, Nationals 1

Recap: Tanner Roark looked good in his 5 2/3 innings, allowing just one run. Drew Storen allowed two runs in two-thirds of an inning. The Nats’ only run came in the first on a Ryan Zimmerman infield single.

Need to know: Roark further showed that he’s deserving of a spot on the roster with another solid outing. It’s tough to see him getting left off the 25-man at this point.

On deck: Monday, at Marlins in Jupiter, 1:05 p.m.

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Remember this day forever, folks. This is the day Matt Williams won his first challenge as a big league manager.

Good times.

Williams came out to challenge a call in the top of the first inning here today, after Bryce Harper was called out on an attempted steal of second base. The Nationals skipper had a brief chat with second base umpire James Hoye, informed him that he wanted to challenge the call, and then walked back to the first base side dugout.

Hoye and home plate ump CB Bucknor put on headsets near the Nats dugout, and after a review of about 90 seconds, the call was overturned. Harper was called safe and allowed to return to second base, and Williams was victorious in his first challenge.

The challenge paid off, as two batters later, Ryan Zimmerman plated Harper on an infield single, giving the Nats an early 1-0 lead.

Williams is now 1-for-2 in challenges this spring, and because he was successful in his challenge today, he now has another at his disposal, should he choose to use it.

Harper then made a sparkling defensive play in the bottom of the second, after Chris Young’s fly ball to deep left field evaded his glove. Harper jumped for the ball at the wall, but couldn’t come down with it, and it rolled away towards the Mets bullpen.

Harper gathered himself, sprinted after it and then delivered a seed to third base. The throw was right on the money, and Zimmerman slapped down a tag on Young, who had tried to turn the play into a triple.

Just a ridiculous throw by Harper.

Tanner Roark is through five strong innings so far, having allowed just one run on two hits with one walk and four strikeouts.

The right-hander looked great early on, facing the minimum through three innings. He’s allowed a couple of hard-hit balls since, and the wind blowing in from left has probably helped him avoid a couple of extra-base hits, but Roark’s stuff looks sharp. His fastball command has seemingly been good and he got a couple of strikeouts on good sliders down and out of the zone.

It’s 1-1 here in the sixth, as the Nats have managed just two hits so far.

Update: Roark ended up going 5 2/3 innings, allowing just the two hits, the walk and striking out five.

Williams came out to get the right-hander after he had thrown 73 pitches, 49 for strikes.

Left-hander Xavier Cedeno was called upon to face the left-handed-hitting Daniel Murphy, and retired him for the final out of the sixth. Williams is getting a chance to work on some game situations there by looking for the lefty-lefty matchup.

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