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Roark throws two shutout innings in MLB debut

WASHINGTON -- As Tanner Roark made his Major League debut for the Nationals on Wednesday night, a large group of people in his hometown gathered around a flat-screen TV in a garage on a cul-de-sac.

Roark, who was called up from Triple-A Syracuse on Tuesday, said that he was sent a picture of the crowd on his phone. He estimated that more than 100 people were there.

"They hook it up from the computer and hook it to the TV," he said, smiling. "Back in Wilmington, Illinois. [I'll] give a shout-out."

Roark entered Wednesday night's game in the fifth inning after Jordan Zimmermann labored through four. The 26-year-old certainly made Wilmington proud in his debut, overcoming nerves and ignoring the crowd to allow just one hit over two scoreless innings.

"Nerves were high. First big league debut," he said. "It was great. It's exciting. Very nerve-wracking. All in all, I'll take it."

Roark also made one of the most impressive plays of the game with one on and one out in the sixth. After Braves starter Kris Medlen popped a bunt straight into the air, Roark lunged, caught the ball and threw to first base for the inning-ending double play.

"Very athletic," manager Davey Johnson said. "Made a heck of a play on that bunt."

"Yeah, I'd like to see the replay of that," Roark joked, "because it didn't feel as graceful as I'm sure it looked."

Tom Schad is an associate reporter for
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