Healy, A’s swat pesky Nats, set up rubber match

The Oakland Athletics refused to be shown up by the National League’s top dog, returning the favor of one day prior handing the Washington Nationals a 10-4 defeat Saturday afternoon.

One day after being handed a 13-3 drubbing, the A’s (24-31) handed the Nationals (34-20) one of their own, jumping on the board immediately with a pair of two-run home runs. Oakland finished with four long balls, pushing their season total to 82 — fourth-most in the American League.

The “Swingin’ A’s” got off to a lighting quick start, hanging two on the board three batters into the bottom of the first on  Jed Lowrie two-run home run (7) bringing in Chad Pinder, who reached on catcher’s interference.

Washington starter Joe Ross (L, 2-2, 7.34 ERA) wasn’t able to cut off the Oakland offense there, though, as a two-out single from Yonder Alonso was made painful when Ryon Healy added his own two-run homer (10). Against the Nats, who came in leading the majors scoring 5.6 runs per game, the four was not enough.

The Nationals answered with a run in the second, then made things interesting in the third when designated hitter Adam Lind launched a hanging curveball for a three-run bomb (4) to right.

Though painful, the Lind homer wasn’t crushing, as the A’s bats had remained active. A Lowrie two-run double allotted starter Daniel Mengden some breathing room. Alonso scored to answer Lind when a Stephen Vogt grounder was booted by Washington third baseman Stephen Drew.

Handed a 7-4 lead, Mengden (ND, 0-1, 10.13 ERA) was unable to survive the 5 innings required to earn his first win of the season. Instead, the young rigthy was knocked out with two on and two down in the fifth.

Liam Hendriks (W, 2-0, 3.04) inherited the mess, and he escaped unscathed striking out Michael Taylor, though not until after walking Lind to maximize the threat. The Aussie came back out to work around a hit and an error — his own — in the sixth, finishing his 1-1/3 innings of work with a hit and walk allowed, and three strikeouts.

The story, though, was the Oakland offense — more specifically, Lowrie and Healy.

Alonso finished 2-for-3 with three runs scored, two RBIs and home run No. 16 on the season. But he played third banana to the thunderous duo.

Healy (4-for-4) and Lowrie (3-for-5) became the first A’s teammate to record two doubles and a home run apiece since Reggie Jackson and Sal Bando accomplished the feat on July 20, 1969. But even Lowrie’s four-RBI performance took the back burner to the second-year slugger.

Healy finished with two homers (11) and two doubles, tying the franchise — which includes both the Philadelphia and Kansas City eras — record with four extra-base hits. He became the sixth man to post such an outing in Oakland.

The trio accounted for nine of the A’s 11 hits, and tallied nine of the club’s 10 RBIs to overcome three more errors in a rebound win.

Along with Lind, who finished 2-for-3 with two runs and three RBIs, Daniel Murphy added a 3-for-4 performance of his own.

Oakland will send Sonny Gray (2-2, 4.72 ERA) to the mound Sunday afternoon in search of a series victory. He will be opposed by Tanner Roark (5-2, 3.86 ERA).

 


Kalama Hines is SFBay’s sports director and Oakland Athletics beat writer. Follow @SFBay and @HineSight_2020 on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of A’s baseball.