Dodgers 4, Nationals 2: JT’s late 3-run homer proves to be the difference

Following a two-game sweep at the hands of the Angels, the Dodgers were looking to get back on track to start their road trip against the Nationals.

The offense continued to struggle for almost the entire game, but Hyun-Jin Ryu, the bullpen, and Alex Verdugo helped hold the fort until Justin Turner could come through with heroics late in a 4-2 win.

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The bats have been cold for the Dodgers of late, but they got off to a hot start in the 1st against Anibal Sanchez. Joc Pederson and Verdugo led things off with back-to-back singles, and Cody Bellinger capitalized with a one-out single up the middle for a 1-0 lead.

But after a Max Muncy walk loaded the bases, A.J. Pollock swung away on a 3-0 pitch and grounded back to the pitcher for a force out at home, and then Corey Seager also grounded out to waste the chance.

As it turns out, those were the first two outs of an impressive run from Sanchez, who retired 20 Dodgers in a row. In 2019. Swell.

Fortunately, Ryu was generally up to the task of matching Sanchez. He worked around two baserunners in the 2nd, 4th, and 6th, keeping the Nationals quiet. Verdugo’s stellar defense in left provided him with a boost as well.

However, the 7th didn’t go as planned, as a single started things, a bunt single created tension, and another bunt lead to the bases being loaded after Turner couldn’t glove it cleanly. After rebounding with an out, he allowed a single to left by Adam Eaton to tie the game at 1-1, but further damage was avoided when Verdugo gunned down Gerardo Parra at the plate for the second out.

That ended Ryu’s night, and he went 6.2 innings and struck out four, giving up the one run on eight hits (seven singles) and a walk. Joe Kelly was summoned to face Anthony Rendon with two on, and he induced a pop fly to end the inning.

All that proved key as the Dodgers rallied with two outs in the 8th. Of all the people to break a streak of 22 in a row retired, Joc did it against a lefty reliever by drawing a walk.

Verdugo followed with a single and both runners advanced on a wild pitch. Turner made sure that didn’t come into play by drilling a 3-1 pitch to center for a three-run shot, his 15th of the year.

That gave the Dodgers a three-run lead at 4-1 and Pedro Baez was tasked with setting things up. While he allowed a single, he also got a scoreless inning that included a strikeout, doing his job nicely and without much mess.

Kenley Jansen was then tasked with the 9th to save the game for … Kelly, actually. Things started well after Kenley got a ground out and a fly out, but he then surrendered a two-strike single. Defensive indifference put a runner at second, and Kenley intentionally balked again to move the runner to third so he didn’t have to worry about sign/location relaying and what not.

What he did have to worry about was the mess he was in after he hit a batter and then allowed back-to-back walks to force a run in and make it 4-2. The bases were still loaded at that point, meaning the tying run was at second, but Kenley put an end to the game with a strikeout to end it.

Uh … yikes.

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The Dodgers improve to 68-37 with the win, getting them back to a 105-win pace.

The two teams do it again tomorrow but three hours earlier at 10:05 AM HST/1:05 PM PST/4:05 PM EST. Clayton Kershaw will take the mound against … well, we have no idea yet.

About Chad Moriyama

Chad Moriyama
"A highly rational Internet troll." - Los Angeles Times