Dodgers Win Series In Nation’s Capital, Thanks To Excellent Pitching

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The Dodgers overcame adverse weather conditions, and power outage delays to take two out of three from the NL East leading Washington Nationals in their first series back from the all-star break. The series began oddly with the first game being suspended because a bank of lights went out on the third base side on the roof of Nationals Park. Altogether it caused a two hour and two minute delay before the game was ultimately suspended, scheduled to resume the next day before the Dodgers and Nationals regularly scheduled game that afternoon.

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Game 1

Dodgers 3 6 1

Nationals 5 7 1

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LP-Baez-2-2

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HR-Escobar-5-Gonzalez-19-20-den Dekker-2

Before the lights went out, the Dodgers had an early lead when Adrian Gonzalez homered into the second deck in deep right field for his 19 homer of the season. That followed Justin Turner reaching base after getting hit by a pitch. Mike Bolsinger had pitched four innings allowing one earned run on two hits with two strikeouts. The only mistake he made was in the bottom of the third, when Escobar doubled, Danny Espinosa singled, and Bryce Harper’s fielder’s choice grounder brought home Escobar.

After the Dodgers scored two on the Gonzo home run in the fourth, the lights went out in the bottom of the fifth. Of course Bolsinger did not go back on the mound. Instead the Dodgers gambled literally by having  Chin-hui Tsao go to the mound after the first delay. The game resumed just long enough for Tsao to quickly blow the Dodger’s lead. Tanner Roark doubled, and Escobar’s two-run home run put the Nationals ahead 3-2. Then the lights went out again. 

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  • The game was eventually suspended and picked up right where the game left off in the top of the sixth with the Dodgers trailing 3-2. Once again Gonzalez would homer, the line drive shot just sailed over the left field wall to tie the game at 3-3. He had to take two imaginary selfies. It’s a rough life for Gonzo. Anyways, the Dodgers did nothing offensively for the rest of the game, which set the stage for Pedro Baez to blow the tie in the bottom of the eighth.

    Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

    With one out, Tyler Moore singled. Michael Taylor’s force play left the inning alive as the Dodgers failed to turn a double play. That would turn out to be huge. With career minor leaguer and .208 hitting Matt den Dekker at the plate, pitching coach Rick Honeycutt made his way towards the mound to talk to Baez. For the life of my I still can’t figure out what could possibly have been said. Perhaps the conversation went something like this….

    Honeycutt: Pedro, the guy at the plate is Matt de dekker

    Baez : (Nods Head)

    Honeycutt: Pedro, please tell me you understand that there is two outs in the inning, and the batter at the plate is the .208 hitting Matt den Dekker.

    Baez: (gets confused look on face)

    Honeycutt: Pedro, Matt de Dekker is at the plate.

    Baez: (Nods Head), I will throw him fastball

    Honeycutt: Matt den Dekker Pedro.

    Baez: (Stares blankly)

    And of course right on cue, Baez immediately served up a two-run home run to de Dekker that gave the Nationals a 5-3 lead. Drew Storen closed out the game, despite giving up a walk and a single in the top of the ninth. It only took the Nationals two days to win one game.

    Game 2

    Dodgers  4 13 1

    Nationals 2 5 1

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    HR-Harper-27

    In the second game and regularly scheduled game on Saturday afternoon, the Dodgers got a tremendous pitching performance from their usual ace, Clayton Kershaw. The reigning Cy Young and MVP winner had everything working that afternoon. His curveball was sharp, his slider was nasty, and his fastball control was impeccable. It was vintage Kershaw on Saturday at Nationals Park, at the Nationals expense.

    Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

    The Dodgers scored one run in the second off of mound opponent Doug Fister, and then scored three runs in the fifth to chase him from the game. Fister allowed four earned runs in five frames, taking the loss. Just Turner, and Adrian Gonzalez each had three hits to lead the way offensively. The Dodgers got three consecutive singles from Gonzalez, Andre Ethier, and Yasiel Puig to plate the first run.

    In the fifth frame, the Dodgers scored the second run when Joc Pederson was hit by a pitch, Howie Kendrick singled, and Justin Turner’s line drive single to left scored Joc. Former Dodger Clint Robinson’s fielding flub allowed the runners to advance to second and third. After an intentional walk to Gonzalez, Ethier’s sacrifice fly to right scored Kendrick to put the Dodgers up 3-0. Puig’s RBI single brought in one more run to put the Dodgers ahead 4-0.

    Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

    That was really all Kershaw needed, who plowed through the National’s makeshift lineup. Kershaw finished with 14 strikeouts in 8 innings pitched. He allowed just three hits and walked none. The win wouldn’t come easy though. Kenley Jansen closed out the game, but not before allowing a ground ball single to Emmanuel Burriss, and a monstrous home run to Bryce Harper. That was Harper’s 27 shot of the season and the Dodger’s lead was cut to 4-2.

    Not to worry though. Kenley would recover to whiff Escobar and Robinson to close out the game. The Dodgers won 4-2!

    Game 3

    Dodgers  5 15 1

    Nationals 0 5 0

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    LP-Scherzer-10-8

    The series finale and rubber game featured more outstanding Dodger pitching. This time by Zack Greinke, who extended his scoreless innings streak to 43.2. That places him third on the all time Dodger list. He actually moved ahead of Clayton Kershaw who twirled a 41 consecutive scoreless streak of his own last year. However the Dodgers suffered a costly injury when Yasmani Grandal had to be removed from the game in the bottom of the sixth after he took a foul ball off the mask. With his history of concussion problems this year, it appears the Dodgers may lose him again for another couple of weeks.

    Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

    Greinke was nearly unhittable in the 100 degree sweltering heat of Washington D.C. Greinke had to actually outduel Cy Young counterpart Max Scherzer in what was a fierce battle of donuts.

    Each hurler threw donut after donut for the first six frames. However Scherzer would be the first to falter in the fourth inning, when he allowed a lone run to the Dodgers. The Dodgers actually loaded the bases in the first inning, but failed to score. Two singles and a walk put Scherzer in hot water, but Puig struck out to end the inning.

    In the top of the fourth, Ethier doubled just inside the left field line. Mattingly has Yasmani Grandal sacrifice Ethier to third. Puig struck out, but with Callaspo at the plate, Scherzer would blink first. He uncorks a wild pitch and Ethier slides into home safely to put the Dodgers ahead 1-0.

    Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

    The Dodgers were able to run up Scherzer’s pitch count, that combined with the heat knocked him out of the game after just six innings. Scherzer allowed one run on seven hits with eight strikeouts. He made 98 pitches.

    The Dodgers exploded to score four runs in the top of the ninth inning against the National’s bullpen. Singles from Turner, and Joc, plus a sacrifice from Kendrick put runners on second and third. After Gonzalez was intentionally walked, Mr. Clutch Andre Ethier singled to center to put the Dodgers up 2-0. A.J. Ellis’s (filling in for the injured Grandal) ground ball single into left scored the third run. Puig, despite taking home the sombrero turned his day around by singling home the fourth Dodger run of the inning. Howie Kendrick and Ethier each had three hits, and Gonzalez had two. The Dodgers scored five runs on fifteen hits to defeat the Nationals 5-0.

    Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

    Greinke didn’t allow anything. He pitched eight innings, allowing just three hits, one walk and striking out eleven batters. He improves his record to 9-2, and his ERA is now an MLB best 1.30. I think Greinke could be on his way to winning his second cy young award.

    So the Dodgers win two of three in Washington and head into Atlanta with a 3.5 game lead over the Giants in the National League West. The Dodgers are now 53-40 and thirteen games above .500 for the first time this season.

    Brandon Beachy will make his second Start of the year for the Dodgers. The Braves will counter with right hander Matt Wisler in the series opener at 4:10 PM. Oh and we’ll get to see old friend Juan Uribe. We can still celebrate one final Uribe Wednesday before the season is over. Somebody get the empanadas ready.

    Go Blue!

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