Tanner Roark Struggles As Washington Nationals Fall To Marlins 6-1

Apr 18, 2016; Miami, FL, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Tanner Roark (57) delivered a pitch during the first inning of a game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 18, 2016; Miami, FL, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Tanner Roark (57) delivered a pitch during the first inning of a game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

The Nationals fell to the Marlins 6-1 tonight as Tanner Roark struggled in his second start against Miami this season. 

The Nationals continued their road trip in Miami tonight and had a tough test to face with Jose Fernandez on the mound for the Marlins.

In the bottom of the first, the Marlins offense got off to a quick start against Nationals starter Tanner Roark just like they did in his last start against them. Dee Gordon led off the game with a single to center and then stole second base. After retiring Martin Prado, Gordon’s speed once again played a factor forcing Roark to balk and advancing Gordon to third.

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The next batter, Christian Yelich, roped an RBI single to left, scoring Gordon and giving Miami an early 1-0 lead. With two outs in the inning, Roark gave up another hit, this time to Marcel Ozuna scoring Yelich and Giancarlo Stanton to increase Miami’s early lead to 3-0.

After his team gave him a 3-0 cushion to work with, Jose Fernandez ran into some trouble in the top of the second. After hitting Jayson Werth with a pitch, the Marlins opted to walk Danny Espinosa intentionally to get to Tanner Roark with two outs. Roark just missed hitting a three-run homer by a matter of a few feet to the left field foul pole, but was able to work a walk out of the at-bat. The bases were loaded for Michael Taylor, but Fernandez struck him out to end the inning.

Roark once again struggled in the bottom of the second. After a leadoff single to shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, Wilson Ramos attempted to get the force at second on a Fernandez bunt. The call was originally out on the field, but after a Miami challenge, the call was overturned and the Marlins had men on first and second with no one out. Roark retired Dee Gordon for the first out of the inning  but the fly ball advanced Hechavarria to third. Then, Martin Prado lined a ground shot to third which Anthony Rendon made a great stop but only could get the out at first which allowed Hechavarria to score.

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Both pitchers settled down and neither offense threatened until the top of the fifth. The Nationals were still without a hit when with one away, Taylor scorched a double to left center field. That was followed by a single up the middle by Rendon. The Nationals had Bryce Harper at the plate with men on first and third, and Harper just missed one. But, he hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Taylor for the Nats’ first run.

In the bottom of the fifth, with Roark still in the game, Martin Prado led of the inning with another single, but Roark was able to get the next batter Yelich to ground into a 6-3 double play. Next up was Stanton and the Nats’ killer struck again. The big right fielder crushed a line drive homer to right center field, giving Miami once again a four-run lead at 5-1.

The Nationals offense was not able to get anything going against Fernandez after their chance in the top of the fifth and he left the game after six strong innings. The Marlins’ ace went six innings, gave up one run on three hits, and struck out nine. Fernandez was wild at times with four walks, but when it mattered he got the outs he needed.

After getting into the Miami bullpen with Bryan Morris on the mound in the top of the seventh, the Nationals offense still failed to get anything going. After a one out hit by Taylor, he was thrown out trying to steal second and Morris got out of the inning.

Next: District Daily: Taylor Struggling In Leadoff Role

In the bottom of the seventh, Oliver Perez came on to replace Roark. He went six innings, gave up five runs on seven hits, and struck out two in the loss. After coming in, Perez walked Prado with one out and then gave up a single to Yelich. Dusty Baker then went to Matt Belisle out of his bullpen and once again Giancarlo Stanton hurt the Nats. He ripped an RBI single to right to score Prado and increase Miami’s lead to 6-1.

Next Game: The Washington Nationals (9-3) will be in Miami again tomorrow night to face the Miami Marlins (4-7) for the second game of the series. You can watch the game on MASN at 7:10 PM ET. Stephen Strasburg (2-0 1.98 ERA) will take the mound for the Nationals and be opposed by Adam Conley (0-0 3.86 ERA) for Miami.