April 25, 2018

Washington Nationals Game 36 Review: Nats blow it in ninth, lose 4-3 in 10 to A’s

The Washington Nationals did everything right in this game — until the ninth inning.

Nursing a 3-1 lead into the final frame, Rafael Soriano had his first meltdown in what was previously a perfect season, as the Oakland A’s tied it in the ninth and won it in the tenth off Drew Storen, taking a 4-3 win in Oakland.

The Nats got to A’s starter Sonny Gray in the third. Danny Espinosa crushed a one out, 2-1 fastball into the right center stands for his fifth home run of the season. Zach Walters (making his first start as a pro in left field) and Denard Span singled back-to-back, then Kevin Frandsen smoked a double to the left center gap to put the Nats up 3-0.

In the bottom half of the third, A’s catcher John Jaso clobbered a two out, 90-MPH fastball to about the same spot Espinosa did, to cut the A’s deficit to 3-1.

Other than that blemish, Roark cruised. After Jaso’s long ball, he retired then next 13 in a row until Josh Reddick’s single to lead off the eighth. Roark pitched 7 2/3 innings and allowed one run on just two hits and no walks, striking out five. He threw 62 of his 95 pitches for strikes.

Unfortunately, Roark had nothing to show for it at the end of the night.

Rafael Soriano came on in the ninth to protect a 3-1 lead and immediately gave it away. Jaso led off with a broken bat single to left and scored on Jed Lowrie’s double to center. Josh Donaldson then singled to left and Walters made a strong throw to the plate, but for some reason, Soriano cut the ball instead of being behind the play to back up, and Lowrie slid in safely with the tying run.

Soriano managed to keep the game tied at the end of the inning, but the damage was done. The runs were his first given up this season and breaks a 25 inning scoreless streak.

The A’s won it in the bottom of the tenth off Drew Storen. Alberto Callaspo singled to right field and two outs later, Jaso’s double to the right field scoreboard brought pinch-runner Nick Punto home with the game-winner.

About Dave Nichols

Dave Nichols is Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page. He is credentialed to cover the Washington Nationals, Capitals, Wizards and Mystics. Dave also covers national college football and basketball and Major League Soccer for Associated Press and is a copy editor for the Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, WA. He spent four years in radio covering the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Redskins and the University of Maryland football and basketball teams. Dave is a life-long D.C. sports fan and attended his first pro game in 1974 — the Caps’ second game in existence. You can follow him on Twitter @DaveNicholsDSP


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