Roark leads Nationals’ win over Braves
WASHINGTON — The depth of the 40-man roster of the two-time National League East champions was on display again Thursday at Nationals Park.
Outfield prospect Victor Robles, 20, who began the year at Class A Potomac, had a triple and infield single and scored twice and third baseman Adrian Sanchez, 27, who spent most of the year at Triple-A Syracuse, had a two-run double as the Washington Nationals defeated the Atlanta Braves 5-2.
Both players could be making a last-ditch effort to be considered for Washington’s postseason plans.
“I feel great,” Robles said through a translator. “Hopefully I keep getting the opportunity to show what I can do. It’s tough not playing every day but I want to keep helping the team anyway I can.”
Tanner Roark won for the fourth time in five starts, and Adam Lind and Robles each went 2-for-3 and scored twice as Washington salvaged the finale of a three-game series.
“He puts pressure on the defense. He doesn’t strike out a lot,” Roark said of Robles. “He has been big for us.”
Roark (13-9) gave up two runs on four hits in six innings with one walk and seven strikeouts. He has allowed three runs or fewer in each of his last eight starts and has a 4.43 ERA after it was 5.27 in early July.
“For sure, he is right,” manager Dusty Baker said of Roark. “He is the Tanner that we know.”
Matt Albers, Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle (18th save with Washington) each pitched a scoreless inning for the Nationals.
Atlanta’s Mike Foltynewicz (10-13) lost a seventh consecutive start. He left the game with a cut on the middle finger of his right hand after yielding three runs in four innings.
“There was nothing I could do about it,” Foltynewicz said of his finger. “It may have been a callous working up there.”
The Nationals (89-57) evened the season series at 8-8 with the Braves (66-79). Atlanta finished 6-4 at Nationals Park this year.
Jayson Werth also had two hits for Washington, which lost two of three to the Braves since clinching the division title Sunday. Kurt Suzuki had two hits for the Atlanta, which got a home run from Ozzie Albies.
Center fielder Albies and right fielder Nick Markakis both made great catches up against the fence in defeat.
“It is fun to watch this kid play,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said of Albies. “His hands are lightning. He is such a strong kid.”
Trea Turner led off with a double to center in the last of the first inning and scored on an RBI single by Werth to give the Nationals a 1-0 lead off Foltynewicz.
Washington scored two in the fourth to take a 3-0 lead as Robles had an RBI triple and then scored on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Pedro Severino.
“That guy can fly. He is a nice-looking player,” Snitker said of Robles.
Robles got called up from Double-A Harrisburg and made his MLB debut Sept. 7.
“I was left speechless when I got the call,” said Robles, who is 3-for-9 in the majors with a double and triple and has not fanned.
Roark did not allow a hit until Johan Tamargo singled with two outs in the fifth.
Foltynewicz walked one and struck out three. He was replaced by Rex Brothers, who immediately gave up long outs to Turner and Werth on balls that were caught on the warning track.
“It just broken open and he couldn’t go back out there,” Snitker said of his starting pitcher. “It broke loose and he couldn’t go.”
Washington catcher Jose Lobaton left the game in the last of the second inning after he was hit near the left ankle on a pitch by Foltynewicz.
Severino pinch-ran for Lobaton and stayed in the game to catch.
Albies extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a two-run homer just over the reach of center fielder Michael A. Taylor in the sixth. That trimmed the Washington lead to 3-2.
Sanchez hit a two-run double off reliever Matt Wisler to widen the margin to 5-2 in the last of the sixth. That was enough to make Roark a winner.
“Keep going out, grinding, keep working hard,” Roark said of his resurgence. “I’m a firm believer in that.”
NOTES: The start of the game was delayed 30 minutes by a rain shower. ... Washington RHP Edwin Jackson (5-5, 4.14 ERA) will start at home Friday against Dodgers LHP Alex Wood (14-3, 2.81), who has struggled for the past month. ... Braves LHP Sean Newcomb (2-8, 4.38) will pitch on Friday in New York against Mets RHP Rafael Montero (5-9, 5.05). ... Atlanta C David Freitas, who made his major league debut in late August, was drafted by the Nationals out of the University of Hawaii in 2010. ... Braves CF Ender Inciarte was back in the starting lineup and went 0-for-4 after he missed the Wednesday game with a sore thumb.