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A’s strike out 18 times in 3-1 loss to Gore, Nationals

A’s strike out 18 times in 3-1 loss to Gore, Nationals

A season-low Coliseum crowd of 3,330 watched the A’s strike out a season-high 18 times Saturday, including 11 against Washington starter MacKenzie Gore, in a 3-1 loss to the Nationals.

Gore tied a career high with 11 strikeouts and CJ Abrams hit an RBI triple to help drop the A’s to 6-9 overall this season.

J.D. Davis and Lawrence Butler each struck out three times and four other A’s whiffed twice as Oakland has now struck out an average of 10.8 times per game, tops in the major leagues. The A’s have struck out 42 times over their last three games, including 14 in a 1-0 loss in Texas on Thursday.

Gore (2-0) tossed five scoreless innings, throwing 90 pitches and striking out the last five batters he faced. He struck out the side in the fifth before giving way to the bullpen. Nationals pitchers combined for 18 strikeouts. Kyle Finnegan recorded his fifth save of the season.

“It’s beautiful,” manager Davey Martinez said of Gore’s performance. “He attacked the strike zone, he goes out there and he competes. Hopefully now, we can see that consistency.”

Abrams’ RBI in the third inning, Luis García Jr.’s run-scoring double in the sixth and Jacob Young’s RBI double accounted for Washington’s scoring.

Abraham Toro cut the deficit to 2-1 in the seventh with an RBI double for Oakland’s only run.

The A’s announced 3,330 fans were in attendance, the second time in nine home games they’ve drawn fewer than 4,000 fans. Saturday’s crowd was the smallest in Oakland since 3,095 fans showed up last Aug. 21 to see the A’s beat Kansas City on Brent Rooker’s walkoff home run.

Oakland had won five of six entering the game following a 1-7 start to the season, and can still win its third straight series with a victory today.

A’s starter Joe Boyle (1-2) allowed one run on five hits in five innings. Manager Mark Kotsay praised the righty’s performance despite the loss.

“I thought he did his job really well and effectively,” Kotsay said. “There’s a lot of lefties in that lineup today, and he gave us a chance after five to just have a one-run deficit. I thought he did really good.”

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LHP Alex Wood (0-1, 8.03 ERA) will pitch for the A’s against LHP Trevor Williams (2-0. 2.61 ERA) for the Nationals on Sunday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.