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Gordon hit a leadoff double in the first and Hosmer followed with a drive to left, quickly staking Kansas City to a 2-0 lead. Maxwell added a solo shot later in the inning.

The Royals kept battering Gonzalez in the second. Jamey Carroll got his first hit in 17 at-bats since arriving in a trade from Minnesota. Gordon hit an RBI double, Hosmer drove in a run with a single, and Butler’s run-scoring base hit made it 6-0.

Then the Nationals started their comeback.

Span’s triple in the third scored their first run. In a preview of the trouble to come, Chen loaded the bases before escaping the inning on Werth’s fly ball to center.

Chen’s nightmare finally came to pass in the fourth inning, when the veteran left-hander served up three singles to the first four batters he faced. Rendon’s sacrifice fly scored the first of what would turn into seven runs for Washington in the inning.

Span’s two-out walk loaded the bases, and Zimmerman walked to score a run. Harper’s double off the wall in center cleared the bases and tied it at 6, forcing Yost to trundle to the mound for a pitching change. Werth greeted Louis Coleman with his two-run homer.

“We never give up. We never shut it down,” Johnson said. “We go hard.”

The Royals cut the Nationals‘ lead to 8-7 in the bottom half of the fourth on Perez’s base hit, but Washington piled on three more runs in the seventh inning.

The first came on Moore’s RBI single, and the final two runs scored when second baseman Chris Getz threw the ball away trying to make a play at home.

“It was a weird game. They didn’t give up,” Getz said. “They didn’t give away any at-bats. They kept having great at-bats and fouling stuff off. We came out swinging and did the same thing and we came back. It was a chaotic game.”