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Washington Nationals drop NLDS Game 1, 4-3 to Los Angeles Dodgers: LA’s early runs vs Max Scherzer hold up

Clayton Kershaw held the Nationals to three runs in five innings, and the Dodgers scored four on Max Scherzer early and held on.

MLB: NLDS-Los Angeles Dodgers at Washington Nationals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Dodgers’ skipper Dave Robers talked before tonight’s game about how his hitters would approach Washington Nationals’ right-hander Max Scherzer in the NLDS opener.

Without giving anything away, he explained how they would attack the Nationals’ 20-game winner.

“There's an approach that we're going to come up with,” Roberts said. “I don't want to go too much into it. But you know, we know the pitch mix. We know that he elevates the fastball. We know he's got a slider, change.

“And when he's on, it's going to be tough. He works both parts of the plate, pitches up in the zone.

“So I think that, you know, we've got to have a plan and you know, when he makes a mistake, we've got to execute. We've got to capitalize.”

Corey Seager hit a first-pitch fastball, belt-high outside, out to center in the first for a solo home run. 1-0.

Chase Utley lined a hanging slider to right for an RBI single in the third. 2-0.

Justin Turner hit a hanging curve out to left for a two-run blast later in the top of the third inning, and the Dodgers were up 4-0 in a hurry in the first game of the best-of-five division series.

Dodgers’ starter Clayton Kershaw held the Nationals to three runs on eight hits in five innings pitched, with Anthony Rendon driving in two with a single to left in the fourth and Trea Turner driving in a run with sac fly in the fifth, but LA’s ace left the game with a 4-3 lead and the bullpen made the one-run lead hold up.

Dodgers lead NLDS, 1-0

Here’s how it happened:

Max Scherzer struck out the Dodgers’ leadoff man, Chase Utley, to start the NLDS in D.C., but a 96 mph fastball belt-high outside to shortstop Corey Seager cleared the center field fence for a solo home run that put LA up 1-0 early in the NLDS opener.

LA left fielder Andrew Toles singled to center on a 2-0 fastball to lead off the third, and moved up on a sac bunt before scoring on an RBI single to right by Chase Utley, who hit a hanging slider to right to make it 2-0 Dodgers. One-out later, Justin Turner hit a first-pitch curve up in the zone to left for a two-run blast that made it a 4-0 game.

Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth doubled and walked, respectively, in one-out at bats in the bottom of the third, then pulled a double steal with Anthony Rendon at the plate.

Rendon worked the count full in his two-out AB before singling to left field to drive both runners in and cut the Dodgers’ lead in half, 4-2.

Pedro Severino doubled to start the Nationals’ half of the fourth and moved up on a groundout by Scherzer before scoring on a sac fly to center by Trea Turner, 4-3.

Clayton Kershaw’s Line: 5.0 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 7 Ks, 101 P, 65 S, 3/3 GO/FO.

Max Scherzer’s Line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 5 Ks, 2 HRs, 91 P, 60 S, 7/2 GO/FO.

Joe Blanton and Grant Dayton combined for a scoreless bottom of the sixth inning.

Sammy Solis tossed a scoreless seventh to keep it a one-run game.

Dayton and Pedro Baez combined for a scoreless seventh, with Daniel Murphy walking with one out, but getting thrown out trying to steal second for the second out of the frame.

Solis came back out for a scoreless top of the eighth.

Dodgers’ skipper Dave Roberts went to closer Kenley Jansen with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning for the five-out save and he got the job done.

Final score: 4-3 Los Angeles.

Dodgers lead NLDS, 1-0.


  • Washington dropped five of six regular season games with the Los Angeles Dodgers, after taking four of six in 2015.
  • Overall, the Nationals are 44-27 against LA since baseball returned to D.C. in 2005.
  • The Nationals spent 179 days in first place this season, 152 of 162 game days, and they took over sole possession of first on May 29th, and didn’t relinquish it.
  • The Nationals’ NL East division title was their third in five seasons and the sixth of Dusty Baker’s career as a manager, making him one of only three managers (along with Billy Martin and Davey Johnson) to lead four different clubs into the postseason.
  • No team in the majors won more game against their divisional opponents than the Nationals this season, who were 51-25 against the NL East.
  • Los Angeles won its fourth straight NL West division title this season.
  • The Dodgers won 90+ games for the fourth straight season as well, something they’d only done once before in franchise history (1951-56) when they did it for six straight seasons.
  • Washington’s postseason appearance this year is just the sixth in 83 seasons of baseball in the nation’s capital (1924, 1925, 1933, 2012, 2014 and 2016).
  • In 14 career postseason games, Daniel Murphy is 19 for 58 (.328 AVG) with two doubles and seven home runs, 13 runs scored and a .724 SLG.
  • Murphy also homered in six straight games last October.
  • Jayson Werth played in 53 career playoff games over seven postseason runs before tonight.
  • Anthony Rendon went 7 for 19 (.368 AVG) in four NLDS games in 2014.

Dodgers lead NLDS, 1-0