Possibly, it's a combination of both.
The Washington right-hander Friday night came within three outs of
his second complete-game shutout of the Padres, leading the
Nationals to a 6-0 victory at Petco Park.
Roark (4-4) took a one-hitter into the eighth inning and blanked the
Padres on three hits and no walks through eight innings while
setting a career high with 11 strikeouts. He threw 107 pitches.
Left-hander Ross Detwiler retired the Padres in order in the ninth
to close out the three-hitter.
Third baseman Anthony Rendon hit a two-run homer in the first inning
off Padres right-hander Tyson Ross (6-5) to give Roark all the
offense he needed. The Nationals added four runs in the sixth.
The win was the Nationals' fourth straight and sixth in the last
seven games. The Padres have lost four of their last five games.
In two starts against the Padres this season, the 27-year-old Roark
has allowed no runs, six hits and one walk with 19 strikeouts in 17
On April 26 at Nationals Park in Washington, Roark held the Padres
to three hits and a walk with eight strikeouts in the only complete
game of his career. He needed 105 pitches.
"Even in a hitter's count, Roark doesn't give you much," said Padres
first baseman Yonder Alonso, whose opposite-field double in the
second was the Padres only hit off Roark through seven innings.
"He hasn't pitched us on the white part of the plate. He's living on
the black edges. And there's late life in his pitches."
Roark said, "The fastball in and the fastball out were working. Me
and (catcher Wilson) Ramos were on the same page, so there was
rhythm. We scored early. That took a little weight off my shoulders.
We could go back and relax and go back out there and pitch."
Although his team's long slump seems to have worsened during the
first week of June, Padres manager Bud Black said Roark deserved
credit Friday night.
"I thought he had excellent fastball command," Black said. "He
didn't throw many down the middle of the plate. We're not swinging
the bats collectively. Sometimes it's the pitcher. And he's pitched
very well against us."
However, the Padres' struggles at the plate are worsening.
They had only one hit Wednesday, a bunt single, in a 3-2 win over
the Pirates. Through seven innings they looked to become only the
seventh team in Major League history to be held to one hit in
back-to-back games before catcher Rene Rivera and pinch-hitter Tommy
Medica each singled off Roark in the eighth.
[to top of second column]
The Padres have scored only seven runs in their last five games and
are hitting .104 (15-for-144) this month.
"I have no idea," Roark said when asked about his success against
the Padres. "I'm just doing my thing. I'm throwing strikes, not
worried about what team we are facing. Everything felt good tonight.
"That's always a plus. I wasn't holding anything back. I'm not
trying to make perfect pitches."
Going into Friday night, Ross had allowed exactly one earned run in
five of his six previous starts. But he was down 2-0 to the
Nationals before he retired a hitter.
Center fielder Denard Span drew a walk to open the game and Rendon
followed with his ninth homer of the season - and fourth in hius
last six games -- a 425-foot drive on a 2-and-2 pitch into the seats
in left center.
After giving up a two-out single in the first, Ross retired 10
straight Nationals until second baseman Danny Espinosa led off the
fifth with a triple into the right field corner. But Ross pitched
out of the jam, freezing Espinosa at third and keeping the Padres
The roof collapsed an inning later as a throwing error by Ross
coupled with two walks and a hit batter by the right-hander set the
stage for a four-run inning. The only two hits were a run-scoring,
ground-rule double by Ramos and a two-run single by right fielder
NOTES: Padres 2B Jedd Gyorko was placed on the 15-day disabled list
with plantar fasciitis in his left foot. The Padres activated LHP
Eric Stults from the bereavement list and will have to open another
roster spot Saturday when RHP is activated from the 15-day disabled
list to start against the Nationals. ... Nationals OF Jayson Werth,
who started 57 of the first 58 games, got Friday off . .
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.