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A’s fall to Nationals 8-2

Lack of offense hinders Oakland offense in series opener loss.

Oakland Athletics v Washington Nationals Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

The Oakland Athletics watched an early lead slip away Friday night in an 8-2 loss to the Washington Nationals.

The A’s jumped out to an early lead against Joan Adon in the first. JJ Bleday singled with one out and then moved to second on a walk by Zack Gelof. Seth Brown struck out for the second out, but both runners moved up 90 feet on a wild pitch. Jordan Diaz then came through with a single to left that scored both to give the A’s a 2-0 lead.

Paul Blackburn worked a scoreless first, but a leadoff walk to Keibert Ruiz got him in trouble in the second. Ruiz advanced to third on a single by Dominic Smith and then scored on another hit by Ildemaro Vargas. Stone Garrett followed with a single of his own that scored Smith to tie the game.

Blackburn retired the side in order in the third, but again walked the leadoff man to start the fourth. Another single by Garrett put runners at the corners with one out and a sacrifice fly by Jake Alu put the Nationals in front 3-2.

Lane Thomas led off the fifth with a single, but was thrown out trying to steal by Shea Langeliers. Blackburn got Meneses to ground out, but then gave up a solo shot to Ruiz to push Washington’s lead to 4-2.

Blackburn returned for the sixth and allowed a walk to Garrett and a single to Alex Call before giving way to Lucas Erceg who got CJ Abrams to fly out to left to strand the runners.

Blackburn wasn’t sharp, but did his best to keep Oakland in the game allowing eight hits, four walks and four runs in 5 2/3 innings.

Erceg returned for the seventh and hit Thomas to start the inning. After a fly out by Joey Meneses, Ruiz singled to put runners at first and second. He was replaced by Sam Long who retired Smith on a fly out, but then allowed a three run home run to Vargas to blow the game open at 7-2.

Oakland’s offense was held in check through the middle innings. Zack Gelof doubled with two outs in the eighth. Brown followed with a walk, but Diaz lined out sharply to Thomas in right to leave them stranded.

Long allowed a solo homer to Alu to start the eighth to round out the scoring.

The A’s managed just six hits in the game and were 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position. Langeliers finished the game with two hits. Lawrence Butler made his major league debut and went 0-for-4 at the plate.

The series will continue Saturday with Luis Medina matching up against Washington’s Jake Irvin.