NEW YORK -- Nationals manager Davey Johnson announced that right-hander Tanner Roark will pitch Thursday afternoon against the Mets. In his first start in the rotation, Roark pitched six shutout innings during a 9-2 victory over the Marlins.
Roark received high praise from Triple A Syracuse manager Tony Beasley on Monday. The skipper said of all the players he managed this year, Roark was the one he was most proud of.
Before his promotion to the big leagues, Roark was 9-3 with a respectable 3.15 ERA for Syracuse. Beasley saw a different pitcher than the one he saw the previous season. In 2012, Roark lost 17 games and had a 4.39.
"He really put it together this year, focus-wise, and was prepared for the game and not giving in at all this year," Beasley said. "It was just a different mindset to him. He was really locked in with his outings. He didn't shy away from contact. He had no fear of hitters. It was just like he was going to get the job done every time he went out there. There was a different kind of confidence behind him, and it resulted in success."
Now Roark is in the big leagues and has been a pleasant surprise since he joined the Nationals last month. He started as a long reliever before replacing Ross Ohlendorf in the rotation.
"He has come here and has done an outstanding job," Beasley said. "He made his way. No one gave him anything. He earned an opportunity to come up here and, with that opportunity, he is making good on it. That's what you want players to do."
Span extends hit streak to 20 with leadoff homer
NEW YORK -- Nationals center fielder Denard Span extended his hitting streak to 20 games by hitting a leadoff home run against the Mets on Monday night.
With right-hander Carlos Torres on the mound for New York, Span worked the count to 2-2 before he hit the ball over the right-field wall for his fourth home run of the season. It was also the first leadoff home run for the Nationals this season.
Span ended up going 3-for-5 during the 9-0 victory and raised his batting average to .282.
"I don't have words," Span said. "I feel like I gave away a lot of at-bats early on in the season. It feels good to get in a groove and to be able to contribute. Better late than never."
During the streak, Span is 34-for-83 (.410) with two home runs and seven RBIs. Span has a long way to catch up to the Nats' record set by third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, who had a 30-game hitting streak that went from April 8 to May 12, 2009.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashinNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.