SYRACUSE | Tanner Roark gave up three straight singles to start.
Then he just proceeded to put away the next 12 in a row, and allow only a pair of singles the rest of the way as the Syracuse Chiefs split a doubleheader with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, 6-1.
Roark finished with a complete game five-hitter as he struck out four. The start comes on the heels of a nine-strikeout performance at Rochester. At 6-12 on the year, Roark has taken his lumps, but the bumps have helped along the way.
“I have learned that this game is almost 100 percent mental,” Roark said. “That was my biggest thing earlier. I knew my stuff was there, but then I started to get into my own head which you can never do in any sport. I talked to players, (Pitching coach Greg Booker), and (Manager Tony Beasley). I got through it. I learned that you can only control what you do out there on the mound. Everything else will be taken care of.”
Roark received an early bucket shower during a postgame interview thanks to fellow starter Yunesky Maya.
“It was the towel bucket,” Roark said. “I think it might have had some ammonia in it, but it still felt great.”
Major League rehabber Chad Tracy came on to hit a pinch hit solo homer in the bottom of the sixth ahead of a Carlos Rivero two-run shot in the win. Jayson Werth, also on MLB rehab, was 2-for-2 with a pair of walks.
“I feel pretty good at the plate,” Tracy said. “I think I am right where I need to be. I am ready to get back up there. Our ultimate goal is to win baseball games and when we get there I hope we make the team better.”
In the first game of the day John Lannan was tapped for 13 hits and six runs in 3.1 innings. Carlos Rivero had a three-run homer, but Syracuse was dropped, 6-3.
Audio Highlights: From @ChiefsRadio
Record, Standings: 52-57
Nationals Headline of the Day: Take that Milwaukee
Next Game: July 30, vs. LeHigh Valley 7 p.m.
Line of the Day: 19 of 21 - Game One; Carlos Rivero, Inf. Game One - 1-for-3, HR, 3 RBI, R; Game Two - 3-for-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI
Of the 21 hits in the first game of the twin bill, 19 of them were singles.
Rivero is up to .303 on the season and with the parent club looking for infield help, he is making a case for himself with August looming.
Rivero has 108 hits in 98 Triple-A games this year and 22 doubles. His glove isn’t rock solid (13 errors, mostly at third base), but the bat is good.
Werth-watch: Game 1 DNP, 2-2, 2 BB, 2 R
After getting the first game off, Werth came on with singles to left and center before being walked twice in the nightcap.
Werth scored on a Jesus Valdez single and the Rivero home run in the sixth.