Zim­mer­man homers as Na­tion­als hold on to win slugfest over Ath­let­ics

The Washington Times Daily - - SPORTS - BY GIDEON RU­BIN

OAK­LAND, CALIF. | The Na­tional League’s top team showed it can win Amer­i­can League-style slugfest, too.

Ryan Zim­mer­man hit a tiebreak­ing three-run homer in the eighth in­ning, and the Washington Na­tion­als held off the Oak­land Ath­let­ics 11-10 on Sun­day.

Matt Wi­eters and Michael Tay­lor added back-to-back homers off Frankie Mon­tas dur­ing Washington’s five-run ninth, help­ing the NL East lead­ers im­prove to 5-1 on their nine-game West Coast trip.

But the Na­tion­als (35-20) nearly blew an 11-4 lead in the ninth, high­light­ing their con­tin­ued trou­ble with clos­ing out games. Koda Glover al­lowed the first five bat­ters to reach be­fore he was re­placed by Shawn Kel­ley, who sur­ren­dered a grand slam by Matt Joyce with one out. Kel­ley then re­tired the next two bat­ters for his fourth save in six tries.

“That’s Amer­i­can League base­ball,” Na­tion­als man­ager Dusty Baker said. “A lead is never safe be­cause they’re used to com­ing back and hav­ing big in­nings be­cause the of­fen­sive clubs hit the ball out of the ball­park. We didn’t walk guys to get to that sit­u­a­tion, they hit us.”

Khris Davis had three hits and two RBIs for Oak­land, in­clud­ing his 17th homer. Sonny Gray pitched seven ef­fec­tive in­nings, al­low­ing three runs and four hits.

“Base­ball’s a crazy sport, so things like that hap­pen and at the end of the day it’s still a win,” Zim­mer­man said. “I’ve seen cra­zier things hap­pen.”

The Ath­let­ics (24-32) have dropped seven of nine.

Gray was work­ing with a 1-0 lead be­fore Washington scored three times in the sixth. Trea Turner hit a two-run triple and scored on Brian Good­win’s sac­ri­fice fly.

“With that lineup, if you put guys on base, if you give guys free passes, they will do some dam­age,” Gray said. “You have to stay on top of your game with ev­ery hit­ter. With the ex­cep­tion of three bat­ters, I thought it was an OK start.”

The Ath­let­ics tied it at 3 on Davis’ drive in the sev­enth, but the Na­tion­als went ahead to stay in the eighth. Zim­mer­man drove a 3-1 change-up from Ryan Mad­sen (1-4) over the wall in left for his team-lead­ing 16th homer.

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