May 26, 2014, 4:22 PM EST
GAME IN A NUTSHELL: The Marlins entered Nationals Park on Monday with the worst road record in the majors, and Tanner Roark took the mound for Washington with a 0.78 ERA across 46 innings at home. Though those numbers would suggest a favorable matchup for the Nats, their Memorial Day bout with Miami didn’t go quite as planned.
Roark had allowed four earned runs in those 11 home games, but on Monday he gave up three in the first three innings. The second and third came on a monster home run by Giancarlo Stanton. He blasted a 83 mile per hour slider off the back wall of the groundskeeper area in center field. It was his NL-best 15th of the season and his 21st in 61 career games against the Nationals.
Roark wasn’t bad at all – he settled in to go seven innings – he just couldn’t match Nathan Eovaldi on this particular afternoon. Eovaldi was brilliant, only allowing three baserunners through his first 6 1/3 innings. The Nationals broke through in the seventh with an Adam LaRoche home run, but it wasn’t enough to get the win. Eovaldi was hitting 97 and 98 all day, baffling Nationals hitters into pop-ups and groundouts.
HITTING LOWLIGHT: Through 6 1/3 innings the Nationals couldn’t get anything going against Eovaldi before Jayson Werth finally came through with the team’s second hit, a one out single. LaRoche then followed with a towering home run into the second deck in right field. It was LaRoche’s sixth homer of the season and it gave the Nats some much-needed offensive life.
The two runs, however, were all the Nationals could muster. After 23 games in the month of May they have 72 runs. That breaks down to 3.13 runs per game. Though injuries have been a big problem, the only two players they are now missing from their Opening Day lineup are Ryan Zimmerman and Bryce Harper. At some point they have to get their bats going.
PITCHING HIGHLIGHT: Roark had the worst start of his career at Nationals Park, but considering how good he was before Monday, that’s not saying much. He gave up three earned runs through the first three innings before finding his groove to throw four more scoreless frames.
He was particular strong late in his outing before being replaced by Tyler Moore in a pinch-hitting situation. He needed a total of 16 pitches to get through the sixth and seventh innings. Here was Roark’s final line: 7 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, BB, 4 SO, HBP, HR. 95 pitches, 62 strikes.
KEY STAT(S): Stanton’s home run was his 21st in 61 career games against the Nationals. At 24-years-old and in his fifth season, he already has 132 career homers. He now has 21 home runs and 50 RBI vs. the Nats, only the second player in the majors to have at least 20 homers and 48 RBI against a team since 2010. The other is Jose Bautista who has 23 and 50 in games against the Red Sox.
UP NEXT: The Nationals and Marlins pick back up tomorrow for the second game of the series, a 7:05 p.m. start. Black Treinen (0-2, 1.56) will make his third start of the year while right-hander Henderson Alvarez (2-3, 3.21) will take the mound for Miami.
FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS
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As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...
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