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Jaso walk-off proples A's past Nationals

The SportsXchange

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Oakland Athletics got back to their walk-off ways Saturday night at the O.co Coliseum.

Catcher John Jaso, who hit a solo home run in the third inning, launched a walk-off double with two outs in the bottom of 10th , driving in pinch runner Nick Punto from first base and lifting the A's to a 4-3 victory over the Washington Nationals.

The walk-off was Jaso's first with the A's, and it came in front of a sellout crowd of 36,067 who came for baseball and a post-game fireworks show.

"It was great," Jaso said. "A full crowd. All the seats were full tonight. And to come back. It looked like we were pretty much a dead team going three up and three down. To come back and tie it up in the ninth and walk it off in extras, it was awesome for the fans and it was great to have all the energy there."

Alberto Callaspo lined a leadoff single off right-hander Drew Storen in the 10th and was replaced by Punto. After second baseman Eric Sogard popped out on a bunt attempt and Daric Barton flew out to center, Jaso sent Storen's first pitch, a 93 mph fastball, off the base of the wall as right fielder Nate McLouth failed to make a leaping catch.

A pie in the face never felt or tasted so good to Jaso, who had his first walk-off hit as an Athletic.

"It was awesome," Jaso said. "I was so glad it was whipped cream and not shaving cream."

Storen said he left the pitch to Jaso, "right over the heart of the plate" in the 10th.

"And he's a good hitter and is not going to miss it," Storen said. "Just need to locate it better. He hopped on that first pitch. "

Trailing 3-1 entering the bottom of the ninth, the A's rallied to score twice off Nationals closer Rafael Soriano, who pitched a career-high 25 consecutive scoreless innings and converted 19 straight save opportunities dating to Aug. 20 of last season.

Jaso led off with a soft single to left and scored on shortstop Jed Lowrie's double to left center. Third baseman Josh Donaldson lined a single to left, and Lowrie raced home with the tying run. Soriano retired the next three batters he faced.

"Bad day," Soriano said. "That's all I can say. Very bad day and I can't be perfect every time and it happened tonight."

Jaso went 3-for-5, scored two runs and drove in two. He hit a home run for the second straight game for the second time in his career. Those home runs were his first ever at the Coliseum.

"He's something else tonight," said A's right-hander Sonny Gray, who got a no-decision. "That's awesome. We needed him big back there and he delivered."

A's left-hander Sean Doolittle (1-2), who pitched two scoreless innings in relief, got the win.

Nationals right-hander Tanner Roark allowed just two hits and one run over 7 2/3 innings and appeared headed toward his third win of the season but settled for a no-decision. Roark struck out five and walked none. He gave up only one hit over the first seven innings, Jaso's home run with two outs in the third.

"Me and (catcher Wilson Ramos) were on the same page so when you get that rhythm and that tempo going and you don't have to shake anything off, that's perfect," Roark said.

Nationals second baseman Danny Espinosa hit his fifth home run of the season, a solo blast with one out in the third off Gray that ignited a three-run rally.

Gray gave up three runs on six hits over seven innings. He struck out just three, walked two, hit a batter and threw a wild pitch.

The Nationals jumped on Gray for three runs in the top of third, taking a 3-0 lead. With one out, second baseman Danny Espinosa crushed a home run to right-center.

Left fielder Zach Walters hit a sharp single to right and moved to second on center fielder Denard Span's single to right. First baseman Kevin Frandsen ripped a 1-0 fastball into the left-center gap for a double, driving in Walters and Span.

"I was getting behind in the count a little and they were jumping on the fastball," Gray said. " Other than the home run I don't think those were awful pitches. They just put good swings on it and hit it hard."

The A's cut Washington's lead to 3-1 in the bottom of the third when Jaso homered to right-center with two outs for Oakland's first hit off Roark. Jaso hit a home run at the Coliseum for the first time in his career on Friday night in Oakland's 8-0 win. Now he has two of his 27 career home runs at Oakland.

NOTES: Oakland CF Coco Crisp (strained neck) missed his third straight game Saturday. According to A's manager Bob Melvin, Crisp will likely miss the series finale against Washington on Sunday and might miss the three-game series against the Chicago White that begins on Monday. ... Nationals 1B Adam LaRoche (strained right quadriceps) was out of the lineup and will be placed on the disabled list Sunday, manager Matt Williams said.
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