The Dodgers got some late inning magic from Yasmani Grandal in order to take game two from the Nationals.
Scott Kazmir was decent tonight. He went six innings, allowed two earned runs on eight hits, walked one and struck out four batters. This was Kazmir’s longest outing in his past three starts. Even though he gave up quite a few hits, Kazmir seemed to keep finding ways out of a jam. He managed to get key outs when he needed them most.
The Nationals struck first in the top of the first inning when Bryce Harper hit a solo shot to left. As a baseball fan in general, you cannot deny that Harper has a beautiful swing, but that beautiful swing already meant the Dodgers were already behind. The Nationals would score their second run in the fifth inning when Danny Espinosa hit a solo home run. They managed to string together multiple hits and even had five doubles by the eighth inning, but Kazmir figured out a way out of each inning to avoid those runs from scoring. Really, the only two mistakes Kazmir made were the two pitches that went yard, but the Nationals still led by a score of 2-0.
Tanner Roark had the Dodgers shut down until the eighth inning. Before that, he got 10 outs on AB’s of three pitches or less and averaged less than 12 pitches per inning. In his 7.1 innings pitched, Roark struck out five batters, walked one and gave up three runs on six hits. Roark even went 2-4 at the plate and collected his first two hits of the season. He honestly pitched great, but the Dodgers finally figured out how to attack him in the eighth inning.
Joc Pederson led off the eighth with a walk and then Yasiel Puig reached on an infield single. It is nice to have Puig back and even though it was just an infield single, he hit the ball hard! Everything turned into a grand old time when Yasmani Grandal came up to the plate and sent a ball over the center field wall. After trailing the whole game, the Dodgers finally had the lead by a score of 3-2. My favorite part about it all was watching Grandal run around the bases and see the fire light up inside him. The Dodger bats have struggled lately, so fire and passion are in high demand when it comes to scoring runs and plate appearances.
Before tonight, the Dodgers were 4-24 after trailing in the seventh inning or later. Basically, it was a miracle they came back from it all in the eighth inning.
Thanks to the new lead, Kenley Jansen came in for the ninth and got the Nationals to go 1-2-3. The game ended with a ground out by Harper, which just seemed sort of fitting considering he was the one that got the Nationals offense going.
The Dodgers continue to rise to the occasion when playing good teams like the Nationals. Thank goodness they won today too because the Giants owned the Pirates by a score of 15-4. The Dodgers now still sit in second place and are out of first by 5.5 games.
The boys in blue will be looking for a sweep tomorrow night as they send Julio Urias to the mound!