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Nationals' Roark leads shutout of Padres

The SportsXchange

SAN DIEGO -- Is Tanner Roark getting better? Or are the San Diego Padres getting worse?

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 innings.

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.

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 close.

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 Nate McLouth.

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 . .

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