Getting shut out for the third time this season on Friday night, the Nationals scored three early runs, but the Oakland A’s came back and won the game 4-3 in extra innings on a walk off John Jaso double.
Managing only three hits total on Friday night, the Nats strung together four consecutive hits in the third to take a 3-0 lead. Danny Espinosa started the offense with his fifth home run of the season, and Kevin Frandsen, starting for an injured Adam LaRoche, doubled in Zach Walters and Denard Span. The A’s answered in the bottom of the third, scoring their first run on Jaso’s solo home run.
The A’s tied the score in the bottom of the ninth, scoring two against closer Rafael Soriano on three straight hits. The blown save broke a streak of 19 straight saves by Soriano, and the runs were his first allowed in 25 consecutive innings. Curiously, Soriano cut off Zach Walter’s throw from left field to the plate, giving a close play on a sliding Jed Lowrie absolutely no chance for an out.
Drew Storen (2-1) pitched the 10th, allowing the winning run on Jaso’s double.
Tanner Roark’s last start against Philadelphia was one to forget, lasting only four innings while giving up seven hits and seven runs. Saturday’s start was appreciably better. Relying on a heavy dose of off speed pitches with excellent movement on his fastball, Roark befuddled the A’s batters all night. Through seven innings, Roark allowed one hit while striking out five. After the Jaso home run, Roark set down 13 straight A’s. Roark allowed two hits through 7 2/3 innings, striking out five with no walks.
In three of Roark’s last four starts he hasn’t allowed a run, including a streak of 18 straight scoreless innings.
The A’s pitching staff came into Saturday tossing back to back shutouts and 18 straight scoreless innings. Starter Sonny Gray led the AL in ERA at 1.91, and except for the third inning he looked every bit as tough to hit as advertised. In fact, the Nats managed six hits off the A’s starter with an additional two walks. All told, Gray finished his night giving up three runs in seven innings with three strike outs.
Zach Walters recorded his first hit of the season that was not a home run. In his second straight start at first base, Frandsen went 2-for-5 with two RBIs. The Nats are now 1-3 in extra-inning games on the season.
For a team already struggling with injuries, the Nats received more troubling news on Saturday. LaRoche underwent an MRI on his right quad, and the Nats were considering placing their top producing hitter on the disabled list.