Nats, Mets close series at Citi Field

Rookie right-hander Tanner Roark makes his second career start on Thursday afternoon when the Washington Nationals return to Citi Field to wrap up a four-game series with the New York Mets.

A 26-year-old Illinois native, Roark made his first nine appearances of the season out of the bullpen and picked up four wins and a hold while posting a 1.19 earned run average across 22 2/3 innings of work.

He was transitioned to the rotation on Sept. 7 in Miami and responded well, tossing six innings of scoreless four-hit ball for win No. 5 in a 9-2 triumph.

The outing lowered the already impressive ERA to 0.94 in 28 2/3 innings.

In one relief outing against the Mets on Aug. 31, Roark allowed three hits and a run - while walking three and striking out five - across 3 1/3 innings of a game Washington lost, 11-3.

He'll be opposed by veteran right-hander Aaron Harang, who makes his debut for the Mets after starting the season with 22 starts for the Seattle Mariners.

Harang was released by the Mariners on Aug. 31 after going 5-11 with a 5.76 ERA in 120 1/3 innings.

His last start with Seattle came on Aug. 25 against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and ended in a 7-1 loss after he gave up seven runs on nine hits in 5 2/3 innings.

In eight career meetings with Washington, Harang is 1-3 with a 3.92 ERA.

On Wednesday, Dan Haren tossed six scoreless innings of one-hit ball in the Nationals' 3-0 win.

Haren (9-13) fanned eight and walked just one for the Nationals, who have won 18 of their last 22 games against the Mets at Citi Field. They're 22-9 over their last 31 games overall.

The right-hander surrendered seven runs and nine hits over 2 2/3 frames in an 11-3 home loss to New York on Aug 31. Haren was 4-0 with a 1.98 ERA over his last seven outings coming into that game.

Washington remained six games behind the Cincinnati Reds for the NL's second wild-card spot with 17 to play.

Ryan Zimmerman smacked a solo shot, Anthony Rendon had a two-run double and Rafael Soriano worked a scoreless ninth to tally his 41st save of the season in the triumph.

Zack Wheeler (7-5) allowed a run on eight hits and a walk over seven innings for New York, which has dropped eight of its last 10 contests.

The Nationals won eight of the first 15 games with the Mets in 2013, though New York took two of three in a series from Aug. 30 to Sept. 1.