Washington Nationals Recap: Tanner Roark, offense come up big in Nats’ win over Braves
By Pablo Roa
After a solid start by Tanner Roark and a powerful display from the offense, the Washington Nationals topped the Atlanta Braves in Spring Training action Saturday night.
While Spring Training games mean absolutely nothing, it’s always encouraging to see players perform at a high level weeks before the regular season begins. For the Washington Nationals, that’s exactly what happened with several players in an 11-1 victory over the Braves Saturday night.
It all started with right-hander Tanner Roark, who pitched four strong innings in his third game (second start) of the season. Roark was dominant, allowing just one run on three hits while striking out three batters.
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On the offensive side, the Nationals got things going early and often. Stephen Drew got the scoring started with a two-run double in the top of the first inning. An inning later, Michael Taylor gave the Nationals a 3-0 lead with a ground-rule double to left off of Braves starter Manny Banuelos. Drew gave the Nationals their fourth run of the game on an RBI groundout later in the inning.
After the Braves scored a run on an RBI groundout by Michael Bourn in the bottom of the third, Clint Robinson stretched the Nationals’ lead to 6-1 on a two-run blast in the top of the fourth — his second homer of the spring.
The Nationals continued to hammer Braves pitching all night long. In the fifth inning, Jose Lobaton made it a 7-1 game with a sacrifice fly. Chris Bostick added an RBI double in the top of the seventh, stretching the Nationals’ lead to 9-1. Tyler Moore added a homer in the eighth inning and the team added another run on a Braves error later in the inning, giving the Nationals a decisive 11-1 lead.
It was a strong showing for the Nationals’ offense as a whole, and for Taylor in particular. Taylor, who is likely to be the Nationals’ fourth outfielder this season, went 3-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored — bringing his batting average up to .444 this spring.
With the win, the Nationals are now 8-3 in Grapefruit League play this spring. They’ll be back in action tomorrow afternoon, when they take on the Cardinals at Space Coast Stadium. The game will air live on MASN at 1:05 p.m. ET.