OAKLAND — A furious ninth-inning comeback fell just short for the A’s on Sunday in an 11-10 loss to the Washington Nationals.
Oakland trailed 11-4 entering the bottom of the ninth before busting out for six runs that included Matt Joyce’s grand slam off Shawn Kelley to make it a one-run game. But Chad Pinder grounded out and Jed Lowrie popped out to end it.
After the teams combined for just three hits through the first six innings, the final three innings packed all kinds of drama.
Khris Davis hit a two-run homer to tie it 3-3 in the seventh. But in the eighth, Ryan Madson worked himself into a jam and then served up a three-run blast to Ryan Zimmerman to put the Nats back up 6-3.
Davis wasn’t even supposed to be in Sunday’s lineup, but he was inserted in left field when Mark Canha was scratched due to illness. Oakland’s cleanup man doubled off the wall in his first at-bat, then ripped the first pitch he saw from Tanner Roark in the seventh for a three-run homer, his 17th, that clanged off the left field foul pole to make it 3-3.
Madson relieved Sonny Gray to start the eighth and allowed Trae Turner’s leadoff single. After Madson fell behind 2-0 to Bryce Harper and with first base open with one out, A’s manager Bob Melvin had Harper intentionally walked. After a double steal moved runners to second and third, Madson fell behind 3-1 to Zimmerman and gave up a three-run homer to the major league’s batting leader.
First base was open at the time, but waiting on deck was the left-handed hitting Daniel Murphy, who entered the day hitting .343.
The Nationals tagged the A’s bullpen for eight runs over the final two innings, including five off Frankie Montas, and that proved important considering Oakland’s mad rush in the bottom of the ninth.