KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Jayson Werth hit a two-run homer, Bryce Harper drove in three runs and the Washington Nationals rallied from a six-run hole before holding off the Kansas City Royals for an 11-10 victory Friday night.
Harper also made a terrific catch in the ninth for Washington, which scored seven times in the fourth inning of its fourth consecutive win. Ian Desmond had a pair of hits during the outburst.
Denard Span, Ryan Zimmerman, Tyler Moore and Anthony Rendon also had RBIs as the Nationals piled up 11 runs for the second time in three games — they beat the Cubs 11-6 on Tuesday night.
Just like in that one, Tyler Roark (4-0) came in to spell some sloppy starting pitching for the Nationals. He earned the win by allowing one hit and one walk in 4 2-3 innings.
Bruce Chen (5-2) was tagged for the second straight time for Kansas City. He allowed seven runs and six hits with five walks in 3 2-3 innings in his shortest outing of the year.
The Royals trailed 11-8 heading to the ninth, but Alex Gordon walked and Eric Hosmer doubled before Billy Butler's RBI single. Justin Maxwell added a two-run single to make it 11-10, but closer Rafael Soriano induced a pair of fly balls to end the game.
The first flyout came on a dramatic sliding catch by Harper in right on a blooper by Emilio Bonifacio. The second came on the first pitch to Alcides Escobar, giving Soriano is 33rd save.
Hosmer and Maxwell each homered and drove in three runs for the Royals, who have lost six straight. Salvador Perez drove in a pair of runs, and Gordon added three hits.
Royals manager Ned Yost convened a closed-door meeting before the game in the hopes of igniting an offense that scored five runs in a three-game sweep against the last-place White Sox.
It looks as if the message worked.
Gordon hit a leadoff double in the first and Hosmer followed with a drive to left, quickly staking Kansas City to a 2-0 lead. Maxwell added a solo shot later in the inning.
The Royals kept battering Gio Gonzalez in the second. Jamey Carroll got his first hit in 17 at-bats since arriving in a trade from Minnesota. Gordon hit an RBI double, Hosmer drove in a run with a single, and Butler's run-scoring base hit made it 6-0.
Then the Nationals started their comeback.
Denard Span's triple in the third scored their first run. In a preview of the trouble to come, Chen loaded the bases before escaping the inning on Werth's fly ball to center.
Chen's nightmare finally came to pass in the fourth inning, when the veteran left-hander served up three singles to the first four batters he faced. Rendon's sacrifice fly scored the first of what would turn into seven runs for Washington in the inning.
Span's two-out walk loaded the bases, and Zimmerman walked to score a run. Harper's double off the wall in center cleared the bases and tied it at 6, forcing Yost to trundle to the mound for a pitching change. Werth greeted Louis Coleman with his two-run homer.
The Royals cut the lead to 8-7 in the bottom half on Perez's base hit, but the Nationals piled on three more runs in the seventh inning.
The first came on Moore's RBI single, and the final two runs scored when second baseman Chris Getz threw the ball away trying to make a play at home — a fitting way to cap what turned out to be a circus-like night for the Kansas City defense.
NOTES: The Nationals traded C Kurt Suzuki to Oakland for RHP Dakota Bacus and OF David DeJesus to Tampa Bay for a player to be named or cash. They also recalled C Jhonatan Solano and LHP Xavier Cedeno from Triple-A Syracuse. ... Royals OF Lorenzo Cain (oblique) felt good after doing a series of conditioning drills before the game. ... RHP Jordan Zimmermann starts Game 2 of the series for Washington. RHP Wade Davis goes for Kansas City.