Roark tries to continue dominance of Phillies (Nats win 5-4)

Tanner Roark has enjoyed a standout season on the mound that may earn the Nationals right-hander some down-ballot votes for the National League Cy Young Award.

Roark has been effective against just about everybody, but stick the Phillies in the batter's box and he really reaches for the stars.

Roark tonight is looking to improve to 4-0 against Philadelphia this season and potentially lower his ERA from its current 0.64 mark, though that basically gives him zero margin for error.

roark-pitching-face-on-sidebar-white.jpgSo far, so good. But he's still going to need some more help from his teammates.

Roark has allowed one run through four innings on a sweltering, 92-degree Friday night at Nationals Park. He carried a shutout into the fourth, then ran into trouble when he allowed back-to-back two-out singles, one of them Freddy Galvis' RBI poke to center field.

Roark does have six strikeouts already, but his pitch count is elevated, sitting at 70 after only four frames.

The Nationals weren't able to provide any support for their starter through three innings against Jake Thompson, but they finally delivered in the bottom of the fourth against the rookie right-hander. Anthony Rendon drilled a two-out double off the center field wall, scoring Daniel Murphy from first base and tying this game 1-1.

That was Rendon's 71st RBI this season, which is fairly remarkable when you consider he had only one at the end of April.

Update: It's still 1-1 in the sixth here. Roark has had to battle, but he's through six innings of one-run ball on 107 pitches, striking out eight. There has been only one clean inning along the way, but he has gotten the job done. His teammates, however, haven't done much outside of the fourth-inning rally...

Update II: ... until now. The Nats have taken the lead in the bottom of the sixth inning, thanks to Murphy's 41st double of the season and Bryce Harper's RBI single. But with an opportunity to add to that lead, the Nationals stranded two men on base after Wilson Ramos struck out for the third time tonight and Ryan Zimmerman fouled out to the catcher. Not good. It's 2-1 Nats as Blake Treinen enters for the top of the seventh.

Update III: Make it 4-1 Nats in the bottom of the seventh, thanks to yet another homer by Trea Turner. Turner's two-run laser down the left field line was his seventh in only 232 MLB plate appearances this year. Not bad for a "speedy leadoff guy." This guy does it all.

Update IV: Uh-oh. Dusty Baker let Koda Glover pitch the top of the eighth up three runs, and that lead very quickly evaporated. Glover hit Aaron Altherr with a pitch, then walked Andres Blanco. That set the stage for Cameron Rupp to absolutely crush a 2-0, 97-mph sinker over the left field bullpen. Three-run homer. Tie game, 4-4. And those thoughts of Glover taking over as Mark Melancon's primary setup man may need to be put on hold for the moment.

Update V: Sweet Fancy Moses, Trea Turner fouled off five straight two-strike pitches and then crushed a walk-off homer to straightaway center field. His second homer in three innings. Nats win 5-4 in dramatic fashion. Magic number is 14.

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