The Nationals backed him with just enough offense until the bullpen broke down.
“We weren’t getting any good swings,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “(Roark) mixed it up well and kept it off the barrel of the bat.”
Danny Espinosa hit a towering home run off A’s starter Sonny Gray with one out in the third to give the Nats an early lead. Zach Walters and Denard Span followed with singles before Kevin Frandsen lined a two-run double to the gap in left-center to make it 3-0.
Roark left with two outs in the eighth after a throwing error by Espinosa allowed Reddick to take third. Roark fielded Eric Sogard’s grounder cleanly, but his throw to first hit Reddick in the back of the helmet and ricocheted near the Nationals dugout.
“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.
Gray, the AL pitcher of the month in April, struck out three and walked two. He allowed six hits over seven innings and gave up all of Washington’s runs in the third
Sean Doolittle (1-2) pitched one inning for the win.
NOTES: Zimmerman has not yet resumed hitting and is scheduled to have another X-ray on Sunday. … Oakland LHP Scott Kazmir (4-1) pitches the series finale after taking the loss in his previous outing. … Former A’s starter Gio Gonzalez (3-2) goes for Washington. Gonzalez won 15 and 16 games for Oakland in 2010 and 2011, respectively.