OAKLAND -- Ryan Zimmerman unlocked an eighth-inning tie with a bang Sunday, belting a three-run homer ahead of Washington's five-run ninth inning. The late surge allowed the Nationals to secure an 11-10 series-winning victory over the A's, who fell short of a comeback with six runs in the final frame
OAKLAND -- Ryan Zimmerman unlocked an eighth-inning tie with a bang Sunday, belting a three-run homer ahead of Washington's five-run ninth inning. The late surge allowed the Nationals to secure an 11-10 series-winning victory over the A's, who fell short of a comeback with six runs in the final frame of the series finale at the Coliseum.
"Offensively, I think all year, with the lineup we have, we just try to keep going, no matter what the score is," Zimmerman said. "Whether we're down by a lot or up by a lot, grind out every at-bat. Today, that obviously helped us."
It was the 16th home run of the season for Zimmerman, whose dramatic doings spoiled a big day from A's left fielder Khris Davis, who doubled and scored in the second before temporarily tying the game, 3-3, in the seventh with his team-leading 17th homer, a two-run shot against Nationals starter Tanner Roark. Davis added a single in the middle of a wild ninth that was capped by Matt Joyce's grand slam off Shawn Kelley, who squashed the rally to secure the save.
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"It shows some grit," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "You come that far, you'd like to get one or two more, but it leaves a better feeling from a game that looked like it was a blowout to a game we're in it until the last at-bat."
"It was pretty explosive," Davis said. "It was really a lot of good ABs after good ABs. That's what we need just to stay in ballgames."
Roark recorded two outs in the eighth before Chad Pinder's RBI double sent him out of the game. The right-hander picked up the win, though, besting A's starter Sonny Gray, who went seven innings and allowed three runs on four hits, including Trea Turner's two-run triple in a three-run sixth inning.
Washington's five insurance runs in the ninth against right-hander Frankie Montas proved vital. Matt Wieters and Michael Taylor hit back-to-back homers, accounting for three runs, and Daniel Murphy chipped in with a two-run single.
"You never know which run is the run that wins the game," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. "You seemingly think you've got the game in the bag, but you never do. That's why we always urge our guys to keep playing, and they did."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Walk this way: Gray's season-high third walk came back to haunt him. After working around two walks in a scoreless fourth inning, Gray issued one to Wieters to begin the sixth, and Taylor followed with a base hit to put runners on first and second for Turner. The shortstop slammed a 2-1 offering off the right-center-field wall, bringing in both runners for Washington's first lead of the day. Brian Goodwin extended the Nationals' lead with a sacrifice fly.
Bryce is back:Bryce Harper didn't pick up a hit in his return from a three-game suspension, but the outfielder still managed to leave his mark on the game, reaching base four times -- three via a walk. After Madson fell behind Harper, 2-0, with Turner stationed on second base with one out in the eighth inning, the A's elected to intentionally walk the slugger. Turner and Harper pulled off a double steal before Zimmerman sent them both home with his game-altering blast.
"There are a lot of factors in there, and it's not getting any easier as you go along," Melvin said. "You've got Murphy behind Zimmerman, too, but we're trying to at least get ourselves in a double-play situation with a right-right matchup. You just hope it works out and give yourself the best chance that you possibly can to get out of the inning."
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
The A's challenged the safe ruling on Turner's steal of second base in the eighth inning, but a replay review determined the call stands.
In the ninth inning, a crew-chief review reversed the initial out call on Stephen Vogt at first base. Vogt, deemed safe, was awarded an RBI infield single.
Nationals: In a rematch of last season's National League Division Series, the Nationals head to Los Angeles to begin a three-game series with the Dodgers on Monday night at Dodger Stadium at 10:05 p.m. ET. Left-hander Giovany Gonzalez takes the mound.
A's: The A's will send left-hander Sean Manaea to the mound for Monday's series opener against the Blue Jays, with first pitch at the Coliseum scheduled for 7:05 p.m. PT. Manaea has won each of his last three starts, posting a 1.42 ERA during that span.
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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.
Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.