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Nationals down 1-0 in NLDS with Dodgers: Caught stealing, RISP issues, Max Scherzer’s HR problems hurt...

Washington trails 1-0 in the NLDS with the Los Angeles Dodgers after a frustrating 4-3 loss in Nationals Park.

MLB: NLDS-Los Angeles Dodgers at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Daniel Murphy walked with one out and the Washington Nationals down a run in the bottom of the seventh, and with Anthony Rendon up, and hard-throwing right-hander Pedro Baez on the mound, Murphy tried to steal second.

He didn’t make it. Murphy was thrown out by Los Angeles Dodgers’ catcher Yasmani Grandal for the second out of the inning and Rendon popped up to end the frame.

Was it a missed hit-and-run sign? Was Murphy, who just returned tonight from several weeks out of the lineup with a strained left buttock running on his own?

“It wasn’t a missed sign,” Nats’ skipper Dusty Baker told reporters after the Nationals came up short in the NLDS opener.

“Our guys have the green light,” Baker explained, “if they think a guy is slow to the plate, which Baez is.

“I guess the leg felt better, you know, than I imagined, because he’s running good on that ball.”

Was he surprised to see Murphy take off for second?

“I was surprised,” Baker admitted. “But like I said, we got the stopwatch on those guys, and he’s being aggressive and he thought he had a chance to steal the base. You know, we stole second and third, everybody says great play, and then when you get thrown out, you say it’s not.”

“That’s not what lost the game,” Baker noted. “I mean, we had plenty of opportunities to score, even before that.”

Washington went 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position and nine left on base in what ended up a one-run loss.

“That’s kind of the saga of the year,” Baker said. “We didn’t hit with runners in scoring position.”

The Dodgers went just 1 for 5 with RISP, but they got two big home runs off Nationals’ starter Max Scherzer early in the game, a solo blast by Corey Seager with one out in the first and a two-out, two-run blast by Justin Turner as part of a three-run third and the 4-0 lead they jumped out to held up.

“Max settled down after that, but that was a big two-rub blast by [Turner],” Baker said.

“That was big. The curve ball, the first pitch that Seager saw, he hit it out of the ballpark and that was really how the scoring went.”

The home runs were the 32nd and 33rd that Scherzer has allowed this season.

Baker was asked if he sees a pattern or anything that’s led to the potential Cy Young award winner giving up the long ball so often.

“Like I said, they were first-ball jumping early,” he explained. “Like Seager did, so evidently everybody knows he’s going to throw a lot of strikes and a lot of early strikes, because they attacked him in his last start like that.

“But then as soon as he started working with his breaking ball and his changeup, you know, he was the Max that we know. But he made a mistake to a very good hitter.”

Washington rallied to get within one, but fell short, and fell behind 1-0 in the best-of-five National League Division Series with the Dodgers.