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Washington Nationals Drop Two Of Three In Los Angeles: 3-1 Dodgers In Zack Greinke's Return

After scoring just one run on an Adam LaRoche home run through seven innings, the Washington Nationals still had a chance to tie it in the eighth when they got runners on first and third with no one out, but three outs later, a deflated Nats team had squandered the chance and they lost the series finale to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

May 15, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starter Zack Greinke (21) delivers a pitch against the Washington Nationals at Dodger Stadium.
May 15, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starter Zack Greinke (21) delivers a pitch against the Washington Nationals at Dodger Stadium.
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Nationals' lefty Ross Detwiler took the mound Wednesday night in Los Angeles for his eighth start of the season after Dodgers' right-hander Zack Greinke had completed a 14-pitch, 1-2-3 top of the first in the rubber match in Dodger Stadium. Detwiler gave up a ground-rule double to right by Matt Kemp with two down in the home-half of the inning, and after the LA center fielder extended his current hit streak to 13 games, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez drove him in with a broken-bat single to center that made it 1-0 early in the series finale in Chavez Ravine. 16-pitch inning for the Nats' '07 1st Round pick.

Zack Greinke hit the outside edge at the knees for a called strike three on Adam LaRoche and the fourth straight batter retired to start the game. Ian Desmond had a moment with his bat, then stepped in against the Dodgers' starter and flew to right for out no.2 and batter no.5 in a row set down by Greinke, but Wilson Ramos hit an 0-1 fastball to left-center for a two-out double and the Nationals' first hit. A fly to right from Danny Espinosa stranded the Nats' catcher, however, and left the second baseman 0 for 10 with 5 Ks so far in the series in Los Angeles.

A 1-0 fastball from Ross Detwiler to Andre Ethier was lined to right for a leadoff single in the bottom of the second. The Nats' lefty put two runners on in front of Juan Uribe when he walked Scott Van Slyke. Van Slyke was quickly removed from the basepaths when Uribe grounded to short to start a 6-4-3 DP, but Ethier took third on the grounder and scored when Greinke "helped his own cause" with an opposite field single to right that made it 2-0 Dodgers after two. 14-pitch frame for Detwiler. 30 overall after two.

Roger Bernadina singled to start the third, but a sac bunt and a lineout to left later he was standing on second base in Dodger Stadium with two down when Steve Lombardozzi flew out to Dodgers' left fielder Scott Van Slyke. Grienke was up to 38 pitches after three scoreless.

Nick Punto singled to center on Detwiler's 33rd pitch of the game, an 0-2 fastball. Denard Span didn't move, but he quickly switched stances on a line drive right at him by Matt Kemp before making the catch. Detwiler got a force at second on a grounder to first by Adrian Gonzalez, but didn't get over to the bag in time for the double play. A single by A.J. Ellis and walk to Andre Ethier followed and Detwiler faced a bases loaded, two-out jam. By the time he went to a full count with Scott Van Slyke he was up to 56 pitches, but Ryan Zimmerman held LA there when he caught a line drive headed to left for an inning-ending leaping grab. 2-0 Dodgers after three.

With one down in the Nationals' fourth, Adam LaRoche hit his fourth home run of the year out to right field in Dodger Stadium on a 2-1 change that Greinke left up. The home run gave LaRoche hits in 12-straight games after he'd been in a prolonged slump to start the year. Wilson Ramos was 2 for 2 after he lined to left for a two-out hit, but he looked uncomfortable at first and left the game with what the Nats have to hope isn't a flare-up of the hamstring issue that sent him to the DL a few weeks back. Kurt Suzuki took over at first, but he was stranded there when Danny Espinosa struck out on a low 3-2 curve for the sixth K in 11 at bats in LA. 2-1 Dodgers.

Ross Detwiler was lifted at just 3.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 0 Ks, 57 P, 31 S, 5/1 GO/FO, with Craig Stammen taking over on the mound in the bottom of the fourth. The Nats' right-handed reliever retired the Dodgers in order on 12 pitches, striking both Greinke and Dee Gordon out in a quick inning of relief work.

Denard Span singled to center with two down in the top of the fifth, but Steve Lombardozzi grounded to second to end the frame. The 15-pitch inning left Greinke at 81 overall after six. A fly to left from Nick Punto and swinging K from Matt Kemp had Craig Stammen through 1.2 scoreless after taking over for Detwiler. Adrian Gonzalez went down for a 2-2 slider and singled to right with two down, but A.J. Ellis popped out to Adam LaRoche foul of first to end the fifth. Still 2-1 LA.

Zack Grienke came back out for the sixth, but after he retired Ryan Zimmerman, Don Mattingly came out to the mound. Greinke's line: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 Ks, 1 HR, 83 P, 50 S, 4/6 GO/FO. J.P. Howell came on for LA and struck Adam LaRoche out on a pitch LaRoche told home plate ump Alfonso Marquez he fouled off, but Marquez disagreed. A walk to Ian Desmond in the next at bat ended Howell's night. Matt Guerrier came on to face Kurt Suzuki. Desmond was running when Suzuki singled to center and easily went from first-to-third™. Danny Espinosa grounded to second to end the sixth, however, leaving him 0 for 3 tonight and 0 for 12 in the series.

Andre Ethier singled to start the Dodgers' sixth, but he was doubled up on a 6-4-3 DP off Scott Van Slyke's bat and Juan Uribe's fly to center ended Craig Stammen's third scoreless inning of work.

Dodgers' lefty Paco Rodriguez struck both Roger Bernadina and Tyler Moore out to start the top of the seventh. Denard Span walked with two down to bring Steve Lombardozzi to the plate and bring Don Mattingly back out to the mound. Kenley Jansen came on in relief, but LA catcher A.J. Ellis made a strong throw and Dee Gordon a nice tag to catch Denard Span attempting to steal second after one pitch from the Dodgers' big right-hander. Tyler Clippard worked the bottom of the seventh. A 2-2 change/invisiball got Skip Schumaker swinging for the first out of the inning. Dee Gordon battled Clippard for nine pitches before striking out. Nick Punto popped to short to end an 18-pitch seventh by the Nats' right-hander.

Steve Lombardozzi was replaced at first by speedy Eury Perez after a leadoff single to center field off Kenley Jansen. Perez sped around to third on a bloop single to right by Ryan Zimmerman, putting runners on the corners with no one out for Adam LaRoche, who flew to left, but not deep enough. Jansen missed inside with a 2-1 pitch to Ian Desmond, but after fouling off the 3-1 pitch, Desmond K'd swinging at a 3-2 fastball. A fly to right from Kurt Suzuki stranded two in a 2-1 game in LA.

Matt Kemp was 2 for 4 tonight after singling through short to start the Dodgers' eighth. The Dodgers' center fielder stole his sixth base of the year with Adrian Gonzalez up. Gonzalez walked and a sac bunt moved both runners up. The Nationals walked Andre Ethier tonight, but pinch hitter Carl Crawford's fly to center scored Kemp from third. 3-1 LA after eight.

Brandon League came on to close it. Danny Espinosa worked the count full and singled to center for his first hit in 13 at bats in LA. Roger Bernadina checked his swing on a 2-2 pitch to work the count full. The Shark grounded toward first for out no.1 of the ninth. Bryce Harper stepped in for his first at bat since the first game of the series, and grounded out to first for out no.2 and Denard Span grounded to short to end the game. Ballgame. 3-1 LA.

Dodgers win, 3-1 final.

Nationals now 21-19