It looks like the Dodgers have their swagger back as they defeated the Nationals 3-2 to win their fourth consecutive game. The one-run victory gives them a series win and pushes the boys in blue to seven games in front of the Nationals for the top spot in the National League.
The Dodgers got a break this afternoon since Stephen Strasburg was originally scheduled to start but Washington decided to hold him back a day. He’ll start on Sunday in the series finale. So instead the Dodgers faced young right hander A.J. Cole. Opposing him was southpaw Rich Hill.
The Dodgers also are getting another break that they don’t have to face Bryce Harper. He’s still out and the Nationals are unsure as to when he’ll be able to return to action. So this is not exactly the playoff preview that everyone was hoping for. In the meantime the Nationals have already clinched the NL East and it seems unlikely they’ll be able to catch the Dodgers for the number one seed. So it appears they have little left to play for the rest of the regular season.
Dodgers 3 7 1
Nationals 2 4 0
The Dodgers took advantage of the ambivalent Washington nine. The Dodgers got off to an early lead scoring single runs in the second and third inning. Cole was out of the game after five innings and he allowed three runs on seven hits with five strikeouts. Cody Bellinger smashed his 38th home run of the season in the top of the second to tie the rookie home run record. In the top half of the third, Chase Utley doubled (his first of two doubles) and after a Corey Seager ground out, Justin Turner was hit by a pitch. Bellinger’s RBI single to left would score Utley and give the Dodgers a 2-0 lead.
In the top of the fifth the Dodgers would add another run when Utley doubled (again), Seager singled him to third and Turner’s sacrifice fly scored Utley to put the Dodgers up 3-1.
The National’s bats were utterly stifled thanks to a superlative performance from Hill. The lefty tossed five innings allowing just one earned run on one hit and struck out seven. He made 74 pitches total. The lone hit he allowed was a solo home run to Anthony Rendon in the fourth inning.
The Dodgers bullpen kept the Washington offense in check and the Dodgers in control of the game. Josh Fields pitched a scoreless sixth inning and Brandon Morrow then pitched a scoreless seventh inning. However the eighth inning was where all the action occurred. Fortunately as Oscar would say, Yasiel Puig happened.
Ross Stripling began the inning with the Dodgers leading 3-1. He struck out Michael Taylor for the first out but allowed pinch-hitter Wilmer Difo to reach on a chopper to short that Seager couldn’t handle. The Dodgers would hook Stripling and go to lefty Tony Watson in a match-up against pinch-hitter Adam Lind. Seager would muffle another grounder as Lind reached on the error and Difo goes to third. Trea Turner singles to left to score Difo and the Dodger lead is cut to 3-2. Watson then gets former Dodger Howie Kendrick to fly to center and Daniel Murphy (the Dodger devil) smacks a sinking liner to right, but Puig lays out for an incredible catch to save the game for the Dodgers. What a catch!
Kenley Jansen would then come in for the bottom of the ninth and retire the side in order to record his 38 save of the season. The Dodgers improve their record to 96-52 and reduce the magic number down to just 5. The disgusting 11-game losing streak seems like a distant memory now. Thank god.
The Dodgers go for the sweep on ESPN Sunday night baseball. Stephen Strasburg stands in their way. The Dodgers will give the ball to Hyun-jin Ryu to counter.