Stephen Strasburg tossed five scoreless on 69 pitches, taking a 1-0 lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers into the sixth in the series finale in Chavez Ravine.
His 90th pitch of the game ended up flying over the center field fence on a solo home run by Corey Seager, however, and two passed balls, including one on a third strike to Adrian Gonzalez that should have been out No. 3 of the Dodgers’ sixth, got by Nationals’ catcher Jose Lobaton and set LA up with a runner in scoring position they cashed in on an RBI double to left by Yasmani Grandal that put the Dodgers up for good in what ended up sweep-avoiding 2-1 win for Los Angeles.
Dodgers’ lefty Clayton Kershaw gave up a solo home run by Ryan Zimmerman in the second, then held Washington off the board long enough for his teammates to take rally and take the lead.
An 11-pitch, 1-2-3 seventh left Kershaw at 95 pitches overall, with seven in a row set down and 11 of 12 retired after a two-out single in the fifth.
He hit in the home-half of the seventh, but was lifted before the start of the eighth.
The Nationals wasted a leadoff triple in the top of the eighth, and Kenley Jansen came on with two down and got out No. 3, then completed the four-out save to lock down a win for the Dodgers.
Nationals now 37-21
HERE’S HOW IT HAPPENED:
• Ryan Zimmerman was first-pitch fastball hunting in his first at bat of the game against Clayton Kershaw, and he got one. Zim improved to 8 for 23 career vs the Dodgers’ lefty with a solo home run to left to lead off the second, 1-0. No. 17.
• Michael A. Taylor, who had a nightmare moment in Dodger Stadium last season, had a liner to center off Chase Utley’s bat clank off of his glove after he tracked it down for what should have been the final out of LA’s second. Utley took third on the E:8, but was stranded there.
• Stephen Strasburg retired the side in order in a 14-pitch third that left him at 41 pitches in three scoreless.
• Anthony Rendon’s second walk of the game in the fourth (Kershaw’s 3rd of the game, one shy of his season-high) left the Nats’ third baseman with 33 walks and 32 Ks so far in 2017, and a .396 OBP... which is not bad.
• Strasburg struck out five straight between the last out of the third and first out of the fifth, leaving him at seven Ks total, and he set the Dodgers down in order to give him 10-straight outs and 13 of 14 set down after Adrian Gonzalez’s two-out single in the first.
• Strasburg was up to 12-straight batters set down and 89 pitches overall, but his 90th pitch of the game went out over the center field wall for a game-tying solo shot by Corey Seager, whose eighth home run of the season tied things up at 1-1.
• Adrian Gonzalez K’d swinging on a 3-2 curve that Jose Lobaton reached for but didn’t catch, allowing Gonzalez to reach base on what should have been out No.3.
The next pitch, a curve in the dirt to Yasmani Grandal got by Lobaton too, putting a runner (Gonzalez) in scoring position at second and a two-out double to left by the Dodgers’ catcher brought the go-ahead run in, 2-1 LA.
• Stephen Strasburg’s Line: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 Ks, 1 HR, 104 P, 70 S, 8/0 GO/FO.
• Kershaw came back out for the seventh and set the Nats down in order in a quick, 11-pitch, 1-2-3 frame that left him at 95 pitches overall, seven straight set down and 11 of 12 retired going back to Ryan Raburn’s two-out single in the fifth.
• Clayton Kershaw’s Line: 7.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 9 Ks, 1 HR, 95 P, 60 S, 2/3 GO/FO.
• Trea Turner took a 97 mph fastball from Pedro Baez to right-center for a leadoff triple in the top of the eighth, but Ryan Raburn K’d swinging with the tying run at third, and Turner got caught in no man’s land on a grounder back to the mound off Bryce Harper’s bat and was tagged out in a rundown.
• Kenley Jansen came on to face Ryan Zimmerman with Harper on first, and got a weak grounder back to the mound for the final out of the eighth, then finished the Nats off in the ninth, working around a leadoff single by Daniel Murphy and stranding the tying run at second. Ballgame.
NATIONALS PREGAME NOTES:
- Washington’s back-to-back wins in Los Angeles left them 29-44 against the Dodgers in the all-time series between the two teams.
- Washington owned the best record in the National League heading into today’s series finale (37-20) and the second-best record in baseball, behind only the Houston Astros (42-17).
- The Nationals were looking for a series sweep this afternoon, which would have been their first against the Dodgers since late August 2008 in D.C. They had never swept a series in Dodger Stadium in franchise history (2005-present).
- Koda Glover earned his team-leading eighth save of the season last night in LA. He’s one of six Nationals’ relievers with saves this season. Only one other team has as many different pitchers with saves in 2017.
- Nationals’ catcher Matt Wieters, who was off today, le the majors in average with runners in scoring position with a .455 AVG so far this season after last night’s game.
- Washington’s offense started the day leading the NL in AVG (.275), OBP (.343), SLG (.473), runs scored (320), hits (552), home runs (87), extra base hits (212) and RBIs (313).
- In 14 games, (13 starts) against the Nationals before today, Clayton Kershaw was 10-2 with a 2.02 ERA, 17 walks, 104 Ks and a .190 BAA.
Nationals now 37-21