WASHINGTON (AP) — Tanner Roark’s spring training workload was cut by participating in the World Baseball Classic and having his final tuneup rained out. So neither he nor the Washington Nationals were quite sure what they would get in the righty’s regular-season debut.
For a couple of innings Wednesday night, it was rough: Two runs, two singles, two hit batters, two walks, a wild pitch. A whopping 46 pitches.
And then? Roark got down to business, retiring 13 of the last 14 batters he faced and helping the Nationals come back to beat the Miami Marlins 6-4 as Ryan Zimmerman homered while Bryce Harper and Matt Wieters each drove in a pair of runs.
“Whether he gets off to a good start or a slow start, he somehow figures it out and grinds it out and gives us a quality start every time,” said Zimmerman, whose opposite-field shot put Washington on the board in the second. “It’s fun to play behind him. He gets the ball, works, throws strikes — and he’s pretty good at it.”
Roark (1-0) allowed two runs and three hits, striking out six and walking two.
Was he worried about what he’d be able to do, given the lack of preseason preparation?
“A little bit. But it’s my turn to start, so I’ve got to go out there and give as many pitches as I possibly can,” Roark said. “Gave them 97. I didn’t feel like I threw 97, so that’s a good sign. So hopefully, knock on wood right now, keep feeling good.”
The reliever who replaced him to begin the seventh, Enny Romero, plunked Derek Dietrich, which led to some jawing between the two and the ejection of Marlins manager Don Mattingly.
“We got hit three times and we got a warning,” Mattingly said. “It doesn’t seem quite right.”
Dietrich, who also was hit by Roark, said about Mattingly: “Wasn’t expecting him to come out like that. And then when he did, I appreciate it. He’s got every one of our backs, just like we’ve got his.”
Blake Treinen pitched the ninth for his second save, striking out Christian Yelich with a man aboard to end it after giving up a run.
The Nationals went up 5-2 by batting around in a four-run fourth that featured Harper’s RBI double down the right field line, Daniel Murphy’s run-scoring single to center and Wieters’ two-run single through a hole opened at shortstop by a defensive shift.
All came off Dan Straily (0-1), who gave up five runs in only 3 1/3 innings in his Marlins debut.
“That’s not the way you want to present yourself to your new organization,” Straily said.
HITS, HITS, HITS
In the season’s opening two games, both wins, Harper is 3 for 7 with two extra-base hits and three RBIs. Wieters went 3 for 3 with a walk Wednesday, and Murphy had two hits.
HE SAID IT
“Honestly, we didn’t deserve to win the game. We didn’t play well enough to win. We give them extra outs.” — Mattingly, who was bothered by, among other things, a failure to catch a foul fly by Harper during one of his at-bats that ended with a run-scoring hit.
Marlins: Martin Prado (hamstring) could come off the DL when Miami returns home after a season-opening six-game road trip.
Nationals: Anthony Rendon went 0 for 4 after sitting out opening day with a bruised calf.
The three-game series wraps up Thursday with Nationals LHP Gio Gonzalez facing Marlins RHP Tom Koehler.