Zack Gelof

Gelof's two-homer game wasted in A's historic collapse vs. Nats

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Zack Gelof continues to mash.

In the Athletics' crushing 8-7 loss to the Washington Nationals on Sunday at Nationals Park, the 23-year-old rookie did his best to help Oakland salvage a win in the three-game series.

And Gelof did just that, collecting the first multi-hit game of his very young MLB career in front of friends and family in attendance.

Once the smoke cleared, Gelof had four hits in five plate appearances, two RBI and two home runs with only one strikeout. A's manager Mark Kotsay explained to reporters after the game just how impressed he has been with his young second baseman.

"Yeah, Zack's come to play," Kotsay said. "Again, the day he had at the plate is special and he continues to go out and play hard and be a big contributor to this offense right now."

And Gelof has been exactly as advertised since being called up.

In 69 games with the Las Vegas Aviators in Triple-A this season, Gelof was slashing .304/.401/.529 with 12 home runs and 44 RBI.

With the A's? Gelof has eight home runs and 13 RBI in just 25 games, with two of those homers coming Sunday, and is slashing a robust .281/.343/.635 overall.

Considering just how effective Gelof has been in his very short big-league stint, it's natural to wonder how long he can maintain this level of production. Kotsay believes Gelof has what it takes.

"Yeah, you know he felt really good in spring training and he did a lot of great things in spring training to make the club," Kotsay continued. "Started in Triple-A, he had a phenomenal year there and I think the timing was right to bring him here and confidence is there and he's a baseball player.

"It's fun to watch him play and we're going to continue to watch him for a long time I think."

However, despite Gelof's outstanding outing against Washington, Oakland couldn't hold on in the ninth inning. Up 7-2, the A's tabbed Trevor May to close the door on any potential Nationals comeback.

Although May got Lane Thomas out, he walked Jeter Downs, and gave up a single to Joey Meneses and Keibert Ruiz to load the bases. Stone Garrett then singled home Downs and an Ildemaro Vargas sacrifice fly trimmed the A's lead to 7-4.

After walking Riley Adams, Kotsay replaced May with left-hander Kirby Snead, who promptly walked Dominic Smith to make it 7-5. An error by the A's usually sure-handed shortstop Nick Allen allowed two more runs to cross the plate to tie the game.

Then Downs, the player who started the rally for Washington, hit a walk-off single to score Smith.

Sunday's game marked the first time in team history the A's lost a game they were up five or more runs in the ninth inning, which is just another chapter in a forgettable season.

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Still, even though Gelof's masterful offensive display ultimately will be lost in the annals of history because of what happened, Oakland has to be pleased knowing it has a budding star in the infield.

And for Gelof, this can only lead to bigger and better things moving forward as the A's (33-85) head to St. Louis to take on the Cardinals (52-66) for a three-game series.

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