OAKLAND, Calif. — The hits keep coming for the Washington Nationals, and not in a good way.
Less than 20 minutes after watching his closer blow a save for the first time this season, manager Matt Williams announced that the team plans to place injured first baseman Adam LaRoche on the disabled list because of a strained right quad.
It’s yet another blow to a team already missing two of its top hitters. Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (fractured thumb) and outfielder Bryce Harper (thumb sprain) are also on the DL.
“We don’t want to do it, but for the long-term health of Adam and our team, it’s probably important to do that right now and make sure we can calm it down as much as possible,” Williams said following a 4-3 loss to the Oakland Athletics on Saturday night.
LaRoche’s sore quad wasn’t the only thing bothering Williams.
Rafael Soriano had converted 19 consecutive saves dating to last August and had crafted a 25-inning scoreless streak before giving up a pair of runs in the ninth inning.
Alberto Callaspo singled off reliever Drew Storen (2-1) to lead off the 10th before Punto replaced him at first. Storen retired Eric Sogard and Derek Norris before Jaso hit a towering fly ball that ricocheted off the scoreboard in right field as Punto rounded the bases and scored.
“It’s kind of cool because over the last few years we’ve been like a walk-off team here at the Coliseum,” said Jaso, who homered off Nats starter Tanner Roark in the third.
It was Soriano’s first blown save since Aug. 17, 2013, and spoiled a stellar outing by Roark.
“Bad day, that’s all I can say,” Soriano said. “Very bad day. I can’t be perfect every time, and it happened tonight.”
The stunning conclusion was in stark contrast to the first eight innings.
Coming off the worst start of his season, Roark was masterful while shutting down the A’s offense. He allowed two hits over 7 2/3 innings, struck out five and didn’t walk a batter. He gave up Jaso’s two-out home run in the third before retiring the next 13.