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Washington at Atlanta

Venue: Turner Field
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Tanner Roark was told his first start of the season would come a day early just a few hours before game time. On Thursday, the day before his second, he learned he might be used in a relief role to aid a burdened bullpen.

That didn't happen, and Washington's No. 4 starter can now pitch as scheduled Friday night when the Nationals go for a fifth straight win in the series opener against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field.

"I go with the flow. Whatever they tell me to do, I'm here," Roark told the team's official website after his first start. "They want me to pitch whenever, I'll pitch then. This is basically up to them. I just get the ball and throw it."

Roark (1-0, 3.00 ERA) tossed six innings of two-run ball April 3 in an 8-2 win over the New York Mets, picking up where he left off after joining the big-league club Aug. 7. The right-hander went 7-1 with a 1.51 ERA in split duty between the bullpen and rotation.

Some of his best work came against the Braves. In two relief appearances and a start, Roark cruised through 13 scoreless innings while yielding just four hits and two walks with 12 strikeouts.

He'll now try to follow Stephen Strasburg's strong performance Thursday, which paced a 7-1 home win to complete a three-game sweep of Miami.

Ian Desmond's grand slam broke the game open during a five-run eighth inning. Jason Werth also homered and has seven RBIs in two games, while Anthony Rendon extended his hitting streak to 11 games dating to last season. He's batting .412 to start 2014.

Washington scored 22 runs in the series and is averaging 5.4, something it'll try to carry over to its second series with the Braves. Atlanta (5-4) took two of three in last weekend's set in Washington after beating the Nationals in 13 of 19 a season ago.

"You play 162 games, and it seems like every year, it comes down to the last couple of games," Werth told the team's official website. "You can't take any of these games for granted for sure. It is early, but against the division rival - a top notch team like the Braves - you have to come out and play your best ball."

That may need to happen against Atlanta's Julio Teheran (1-1, 2.77 ERA), who allowed two runs on three hits and four walks in Saturday's 6-2 victory over the Nationals.

The right-hander has won his last three starts against Washington and is 3-1 with a 2.92 ERA in six career games against the division foe.

The Braves' staff took a small step back in Thursday's 6-4 loss to the Mets as David Hale allowed four runs - three earned - and lasted just 4 1-3 innings. It was the first time an Atlanta starter had allowed over two runs this season.

Justin Upton went 3 for 4 with two home runs and his first three RBIs, while Freddie Freeman remained hot with a 2-for-4 night.

"Tonight I was just comfortable," Upton said. "The only thing I can do is try to take that same exact feel to tomorrow night and the next day and try to make something of it."

Freeman is batting .455 since the start of the series in Washington.

Bryce Harper is 5 for 13 with two home runs off of Teheran.

Upton, Chris Johnson, Freddie Freeman, Andrelton Simmons, Evan Gattis and Jason Heyward are a combined 0 for 23 against Roark.

Simmons was replaced at shortstop in the starting lineup Thursday by Ramiro Pena due to a jammed right wrist and is considered day to day.

Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
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Standings
TeamStandingsWLPct.GBL 10Strk
Washington1st NL East9164.587-5-5 W 2
Atlanta5th NL East6392.40627 ½ 7-3 L 1
 
 

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Injuries
Washington
PlayerInjury
B. ArroyoShoulder
A. BarrettElbow
B. HarperThumb
J. LobatonAnkle
D. MurphyUpper Leg
S. SolisShoulder
S. StrasburgElbow
Atlanta
PlayerInjury
O. AlbiesElbow
J. BiddleElbow
B. FeiglElbow
M. FoltynewiczCalf
M. MarksberryShoulder
A. McKirahanArm
E. O'FlahertyElbow
W. PerezElbow
A. PierzynskiHamstring
P. RodriguezElbow
S. SimmonsForearm
A. VizcainoShoulder
R. WhalenShoulder
D. WinklerElbow
C. d'ArnaudFoot
 
Series Game Log
DateatResult/TimeWinnerLoser
May 10ATLPHI 3-2Morgan Wisler 
May 11ATLATL 5-1Perez Eickhoff 
May 12ATLPHI 7-4Bailey Grilli 
May 20PHIATL 7-1Wisler Nola 
May 21PHIATL 2-0Perez Morgan 
May 22PHIPHI 5-0Eickhoff Kelly 
Jul 4PHIPHI 8-2Eickhoff De La Cruz 
Jul 5PHIPHI 5-1Eflin Foltynewicz 
Jul 6PHIPHI 4-3Neris Vizcaino 
Jul 28ATLPHI 7-5Nola Wisler 
Jul 29ATLATL 2-1Jenkins Velasquez 
Jul 30ATLPHI 9-5Hellickson Teheran 
Jul 31ATLATL 2-1Cabrera Bailey 
Sep 2PHIATL 8-4Cabrera Gomez 
Sep 3PHIATL 6-4Bradley Ramos 
Sep 4PHIATL 2-0Teheran Thompson 
Sep 27ATL 7:10 PM EDT  
Sep 28ATL 7:10 PM EDT  
Sep 29ATL 7:10 PM EDT