Nationals 10, Dodgers 6: Syndergaard & Dodgers bullpen save Nationals from a sweep

The battle between Noah Syndergaard and Patrick Corbin started off just about how everyone probably expected.

Four home runs between the teams in the game’s first nine outs, and seven combined runs in just 3 innings set the stage for another high-scoring game. However, while the Dodgers only managed four runs against Corbin, the Nationals put up five against Syndergaard and another five against the bullpen for a 10-6 victory.


While Syndergaard opened the game well, his counterpart wasn’t quite as lucky. Mookie Betts and Will Smith granted Syndergaard a 3-0 lead to work just three batters into the game against Corbin.

Betts sat back against Corbin’s fastball and sinker to go ahead 2-1 before catching a slider over the plate for a 379-foot homer to center, his 40th career leadoff homer. Freddie Freeman extended his hitting streak to 20 games with a first-pitch single with Smith sending an 0-1 sinker 386 feet to center.

Syndergaard’s decent start to the game lasted all of six batters. A double play erased a walk in the second inning, otherwise it would have been slightly worse. Falling behind 3-1 to Keibert Ruiz, Syndergaard gave up his eighth homer of the year. No. 9 of the year was just three pitches away with CJ Abrams taking a 1-1 sinker out as well.

With their 3-0 lead trimmed to 3-2, the Dodgers responded with a 1-2-3 inning against Corbin, and then fell back even with the Nationals as Syndergaard continued to struggle in the 3rd. Once again struggling with two outs in an inning, Syndergaard allowed a single to Joey Meneses and a walk to Corey Dickerson. After falling behind 2-0 to Jeimer Candelario, Syndergaard worked his way back to a full count but couldn’t close out the inning. A RBI single for Candelario continued the early scoring and tied the game back up at 3-3.

Of course, Corbin found his way back into trouble in the bottom of the 3rd. With the Nationals defense committing another blunder, Freeman opened the inning on first thanks to an error before stealing second. A single by Smith and a walk to J.D. Martinez loaded the bases for Max Muncy, who just hung out at the plate as Corbin missed on four pitches. Back in front 4-3, the Dodgers were apparently satisfied with a one-run lead as Chris Taylor struck out, Miguel Vargas popped out and Miguel Rojas grounded into a fielder’s choice. Corbin turned to the change-up to strikeout Taylor and got a pop foul from Vargas, but it seemed like a real missed opportunity, especially with Syndergaard on the mound.

It would loom large later.

After two groundouts on nine pitches in the 4th, Syndergaard once again had a chance to face just three batters in an inning. Getting ahead 1-2 with a nice swing and miss on a change to Alex Call, Syndergaard lost him with a change and curve too low, then hitting him with a sinker up and in. Thankfully he would close out the inning two pitches later on a pop up.

Unfortunately, Syndergaard wasn’t so lucky in the 5th after the Dodgers offense failed to generate anything more against Corbin. Though Meneses doubled with one down, Syndergaard once again had two away in the inning. And once again, he couldn’t escape without giving up some more runs. Candelario added two more on a 1-0 homer to center for a 5-4 lead.

After getting out of the 5th with a groundout, Thor’s day came to an end.

5 IP, 7 H (3 HR), 5 ER, 2 BB, 2 K. That includes one (1), single, lone swing and miss against a change-up vs. 40 swings by the Nationals.

On the other side, the Dodgers wasted a double by Martinez and a walk to Taylor in the bottom of the 5th, with Corbin’s day done after 5 innings as well.

5 IP, 7 H (2 HR), 3 ER, 4 BB, 2 K, with 6 misses on 32 swings by the Dodgers.

Those are similar final lines, which is really unfortunate for Syndergaard given who he was facing. He’s set to face the Reds on Wednesday, who are 12th in the league in runs per game but are 23rd in wRC+ at 93.


Trailing 5-4 with the game turned over to the bullpens after 5 innings, the Dodgers loaded the bases in the 6th and left them all stranded again.

Caleb Ferguson and Alex Vesia each gave up a hit in the 6th and 7th respectively, but kept the team within one run. For the latter, a leadoff double managed to stay right there as Vesia struck out a pair looking at his four-seamer after getting a swinging strike on his slider to both batters.

With the bases being loaded not working out, it was up to the Dodgers offense to manufacture the tying run in the bottom of the 7th. A 3-2 count to Taylor ended up in a walk as Kyle Finnegan committed a pitch clock violation. Stealing second with Vargas at the plate, Taylor came home as Rojas bounced a 2-2 sinker up the middle at 78.7 mph for the 5-5 tie.

Brusdar Graterol entered in the 8th and promptly hit Ruiz. Then, to put it bluntly, he really fucked up when he couldn’t field a weak grounder by Abrams cleanly but still insisted on trying to get the out at second. That throw short hopped Rojas’ glove as he tried to stick on the base for the force out, and it rolled into the outfield. Vargas then caught Abrams between second and third for a fielder’s choice and Graterol struck out Lane Thomas, but he wouldn’t be lucky enough to erase his mess.

He got ahead 0-2 against Luis Garcia, and then suddenly, 8-5.

Betts immediately got one run back with his second home run of the game, sending Finnegan’s sinker 412 feet to center in the 8th. A single and steal by Freeman, his second of the game and sixth for the team, put another runner in scoring position to be left stranded as Smith and Martinez struck out before Muncy lined out.

Whatever they could have scored in the 8th would have been immediately erased, as Phil Bickford made it 4-for-4 with leadoff men reaching against the bullpen. Stone Garrett doubled to open the 9th, and with two outs, Ruiz hit his second homer of the day to make it a 10-6 lead for the Nationals.

The Dodgers went down in order in the 9th, and that was all she wrote.


After a day off at home in Los Angeles, the Dodgers begin a three-game series with the Yankees on Friday. Clayton Kershaw will face Luis Severino at 7:10 p.m. at Dodger Stadium.

About Cody Bashore

Cody Bashore is a lifelong Dodger fan originally from Carpinteria, California (about 80 miles north of Dodger Stadium along the coast). He left California to attend Northern Arizona University in 2011, and has lived in Arizona full-time since he graduated in 2014 with a journalism degree.