AP Sports Writer
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Doug Fister fell flat in his much-anticipated debut for the Washington Nationals.
The right-hander allowed three home runs and failed to make it out of the fifth inning as the Nationals lost 8-0 to the Oakland Athletics on Friday night.
“Physically, I felt like I was in the right place,” Fister said. “I felt strong. It was lack of execution.”
Brandon Moss, Yoenis Cespedes and John Jaso all homered off Fister (0-1), who gave up seven runs and nine hits in 4 1-3 innings. He struck out two and walked none.
Fister got little run support as Oakland’s Tommy Milone tossed eight innings of two-hit ball for his first win of the season. Milone (1-3), who made his major league debut for the Nationals in 2011, struck out seven and walked three while throwing 108 pitches.
The A’s had lost his first five starts this season.
“I was messing with Tommy, like, ‘Come on, you’ve got to throw the ball where I can hit it,'” Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond said.
Nationals manager Matt Williams was all smiles before the game with Fister back and his rotation finally at full strength. Washington acquired Fister from Detroit during the offseason for left-handers Robbie Ray and Ian Krol and utility man Steve Lombardozzi.
The Nationals entered the spring expecting Fister to help fill out the back end of the rotation. But he dealt with elbow inflammation in March and sat out the start of the season because of a strained back muscle.
The native of nearby Merced in California’s Central Valley made his Nationals debut in front of several family members at the Coliseum — though the free-swinging A’s hitters never allowed him to feel at home.
Fister put himself in a jam in the first by overthrowing first baseman Kevin Frandsen on a grounder by Josh Donaldson, who advanced to third on the play — one of three errors by the Nationals. Moss followed with an RBI single to give the A’s a 1-0 lead.
“When you give them extra outs, you’re asking for trouble,” Williams said.
Most of Oakland’s runs, though, came via the long ball: Jaso hit his second home run of the season in the third, Moss hit his sixth homer in the fifth and Cespedes followed with his seventh homer on the next pitch to put the A’s up 7-0.
It was the first time the A’s hit back-to-back home runs this season.
“I was excited for tonight no more than normal. Everything felt good. I have been working on certain pitches to keep them down in the zone. I didn’t do that tonight,” Fister said. “It’s a matter of going out and executing, whether you are sore or feeling good. You have to make the adjustments and I didn’t do that. It was a lack of location.”
The biggest trouble Milone faced came in the seventh, when he struck out Danny Espinosa with runners on first and second to end the inning. It was the first time Milone completed at least seven innings this season.
Fernando Rodriguez tossed a scoreless ninth for the A’s in his first appearance in the majors since October 2012 after rehabbing from elbow ligament replacement surgery.
NOTES: Nationals OF Nate McLouth is expected to start Saturday after cutting his right hand while making a diving catch in foul territory Monday. … An MRI confirmed A’s CF Coco Crisp has a strained neck, manager Bob Melvin said. Crisp, who was injured when he crashed into the wall to make a leaping catch in the opener of Wednesday’s doubleheader, is day to day. … The A’s placed reliever Ryan Cook on the 15-day disabled with a strained right forearm. Cook and Melvin said they don’t believe the injury is serious. … RHP Sonny Gray (4-1, 1.91 ERA) goes for the A’s on Saturday against Nationals RHP Tanner Roark (2-1, 4.17).
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