Washington starter Tanner Roark threw six solid innings and drove in two runs as the Nationals jumped out to a big early lead and defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 11-2 on Wednesday afternoon at Nationals Park.
The Nationals swept both games of the brief series with the Rays. Tampa Bay’s losing streak stands at six games.
Roark allowed two runs on six hits with four strikeouts and a walk in six innings. He improved to 3-6 after losing four in a row despite not pitching badly.
The right-hander also came up with a key two-run single in a five-run first inning.
Roark combined with Anthony Rendon (4-for-5, four runs, three RBI) and Michael A. Taylor (3-for-5, three RBI) for most of the Nationals’ offense. Washington added a run in the second plus four more off Ryan Yarbrough in the sixth en route to a 10-2 lead.
The Rays tried to go with their bullpen starter experiment again. Jonny Venters (1-1) got his first major league start after being a career reliever.
Venters lasted six batters and gave up five runs on three hits as Washington jumped to the 5-0 first-inning lead. Tampa Bay has been trying to start the game with its relief pitchers at times in hope of keeping some young starters from facing the meat of the lineup at the beginning but it did not work this time.
Yarbrough came on behind Venters in the first and lasted 5 1/3 innings, allowing five runs on 10 hits.
In the first, Rendon made it 2-0 with a two-run double. Taylor added an RBI double before Roark singled in two more later in the inning.
Taylor added an RBI single in the second before the Rays got some offense. Carlos Gomez got an RBI single in the fourth before C.J. Cron’s solo homer cut the lead to 6-2 in the fifth.
The Nationals broke things open with the four-run sixth. Rendon and Juan Soto added RBI doubles before Taylor lined a run-scoring single. He later scored on a throwing error after a steal for a 10-2 lead.
Rendon then scored on a passed ball in the eighth for the game’s last run.
—Field Level Media