Tanner Roark looked awfully rusty early in his first start of the season, but the right-hander settled down nicely and then watched as his Nationals teammates went to work against the Marlins pitching staff en route to their second win of the season.
Behind Roark’s quality start and a four-run rally in the bottom of the fourth, the Nats beat Miami 6-4 tonight and improved to a perfect 2-0 on the young baseball campaign.
Bryce Harper followed up his opening day heroics with a pair of RBI hits, Daniel Murphy drove in his second run of the year and Matt Wieters delivered a two-run single past an odd Marlins infield alignment to highlight the mid-game rally.
Ryan Zimmerman earlier clubbed his first home run of the season, driving a pitch from starter Dan Straily off the top of the wall in right-center field.
Roark finished with a quality start - two runs allowed in six innings - and that was impressive in itself given the way his first outing of the season began. The right-hander, who pitched only 10 2/3 innings in the last month due to the World Baseball Classic and bad weather, looked out of sorts when he took the mound, issuing two walks in the first inning and hitting two batters in the second inning.
Marcel Ozuna’s two-run single in the first put the Marlins on the board, but Roark kept the damage to that. He bounced back to retire 13 of the last 14 batters he faced, needing only 51 pitches over his final four innings after needing 46 for his first two.
The Nationals lineup helped make Roark’s start hold up, thanks to the four-run fourth. It included Harper’s RBI double, Murphy’s RBI single and Wieters’ two-run single with the bases loaded, in which his grounder hit to the typical shortstop position sneaked through because the Marlins infield was both shifted and playing in to cut off a run at the plate.
Left-hander Enny Romero pitched a scoreless seventh, escaping a self-made jam that included his very first pitch plunking Derek Dietrich. The Marlins third baseman barked at the reliever as he made his way to first, and manager Don Mattingly wound up getting ejected for arguing with plate umpire Ron Kulpa.
His team up four runs, Dusty Baker let Romero return to the mound for the eighth, but he departed after surrendering a home run to J.T. Realmuto and a single to Christian Yelich. Joe Blanton entered and got two outs but departed with the tying run at the plate and turned things over to lefty Oliver Pérez, who got Dietrich to ground out and end the inning.
Blake Treinen then pitched the ninth, allowing a run on a couple of two-out singles, for his second save in as many tries.