Dodgers 9, Nationals 3: Stellar defense, veteran presence, and Freeman’s 4-hit night secure series win

The Dodgers (34-22) jumped on the Washington bullpen for five runs late in their 9-3 victory Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium to secure the series win against the Nationals (23-32).


Starting things off, Jason Heyward flexed his power again with a solo home run in the bottom of the second inning. The 403-ft. bomb to center was off Washington’s right-hander Jake Irvin‘s curveball for a truly rare feat.

Tony Gonsolin cruised through two scoreless innings against the Nats, but Washington’s bats adjusted and got to Gonsolin’s off-speed pitches in the 3rd. Consecutive singles from Ildemaro Vargas and Lane Thomas started the offensive rally for Washington, and Gonsolin made matters even more complicated for himself when he hit Jeimer Candelario with a pitch to load the bases with one out. The Nationals then tied it at 1-1 on a Joey Meneses RBI single.

While there was a lot of hard contact against Dodgers’ starter Tony Gonsolin Tuesday evening, the L.A. defense picked up their cat loving right-hander. In turn, Gonsolin was able to pitch six innings of one-run ball against a Washington team that leads the league in batting average.


Helping Gonsolin to the win was Mookie Betts, who collected his second base hit of the game with a leadoff single in the bottom half of the third, and Meneses looked surprised when a Freddie Freeman single landed in his lap. The Dodgers were back in scoring position quickly with nobody out.

Max Muncy, back in the lineup and at third base, knocked a RBI ground-rule double down the right field line to give the Dodgers back the lead. Then J.D. Martinez continued to drive in runs with a sac fly to give the Dodgers a two-run lead. The onslaught on Irvin continued with J-Hey’s second hit of the game, an RBI single to make it 4-1.

Freeman continues to play on another level during his 19-game hitting streak. He smacked yet another hit, a single to center to start the fifth. The Dodgers’ first baseman leads the NL with a 1.005 OPS.


In relief of Gonsolin, Alex Vesia got a welcome back to Dodger Stadium by old friend Keibert Ruiz in the top of the seventh. Ruiz sent the first pitch Vesia threw, a four-seamer right over the plate, over the Dodger Stadium wall for a homer. The Nats pulled within one run of the Dodgers after Thomas jumped on Vesia’s fastball for a double and Luis Garcia singled to right to make it 4-3.

Dave Roberts finally saw enough of Vesia’s fateful return, and he got yanked after a walk to Candelario. Evan Phillips came in and shut down Meneses to mop up the mess of Vesia. He continued on in the 8th and got a scoreless frame there as well. Perhaps it’s because he’s not flashy, but Phillips has been an unsung hero for the Dodgers.


In the bottom of the seventh, Freeman tried to extend a single into a double, but an outfield assist by Lane Thomas erased him at second with plenty of time. But the rally got started again when Muncy then singled off reliever Andres Machado, then J.D. continued to show what a professional hitter that he is, and his two-run home run gave the Dodgers a much more comfortable three-run lead in the bottom of the seventh.

The Dodgers scored their seventh and eighth runs on a succession of poor defensive blunders in the eighth by the Nationals that eventually led to another hit by Freeman, his 10th homer of the year to make it 9-3.

Justin Bruihl shut things out in the ninth to give the Dodgers the series win.


They improve to (34-22) overall and (18-7) at home including 13 of their last 14 at Dodger Stadium.

The Dodgers wrap up the month of May and go for the series sweep vs. the Nats at 1:10 PM PST Wednesday on SportsNet LA. Noah Syndergaard (1-4, 6.27 ERA, 10.8 H/9) looks to bounce back after an extremely rough start in Tampa Bay. The Dodgers’ offense takes on left-hander Patrick Corbin (4-5, 4.88 ERA, 4.37 career ERA vs. LAD) who starts for the Nats.

About Stacie Wheeler

Stacie Wheeler, born and raised in So Cal, has been writing about the Dodgers since 2010. She wrote daily as the co-editor of Lasorda's Lair for five long years, and she has also written for Dodgers Nation, Dodger Blue 1958 and The Hardball Times. She currently contributes to True Blue LA. Stacie graduated from the University Of Southern California with a bachelor's degree in Cinema-Television. You can also watch her videos on her YouTube channel, DishingUpTheDodgers.