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Washington Nationals drop 4-2 decision to Los Angeles Dodgers in series opener in D.C.

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After the Nationals battled back to tie things up at 1-1 in the 7th, Kyle Barraclough came on with 2 on and 2 out and gave up a three-run home run that was the difference in the Dodgers’ 4-2 win.

Los Angeles Dodgers v Washington Nationals Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Aníbal Sánchez got off to a rough start, with three of the first four batters he faced singling as the Los Angeles Dodgers jumped out to a 1-0 lead, but after LA loaded the bases later in the first, he retired 20-straight batters and left the game after seven innings with the score still the same.

Dodgers’ starter Hyun-Jin Ryu picked up where he left off when he faced the Nats in Dodger Stadium in May, with eight scoreless on the mound that day and six scoreless to start today, but the Nationals put up a run in the seventh and knocked him out of the game, 1-1.

The Dodgers battled back in the eighth, however, putting two on with two out before Justin Turner hit a 3-1 fastball from Kyle Barraclough out to left-center for a three-run blast and a 4-1 lead in what ended up a 4-2 win.

Sánchez vs LA: Aníbal Sánchez was in the midst of a rough start to the first year of his two-year/$19M deal with the Nationals when he faced the Dodgers in LA back in May, giving up a total of three runs on six hits in 4 13 IP in what ended up a 6-0 loss in Chavez Ravine, but after that outing, and before tonight’s start against Los Angeles in Washington, D.C., the 35-year-old, 14-year veteran was unbeaten in ten starts, with a 2.68 ERA, 14 walks, 42 Ks, and a .220/.278/.366 line against in 53 23 IP.

Sánchez got off to a rough start in the series opener with the Dodgers, giving up singles to three of the first four batters he faced, with Cody Bellinger connecting on the third to drive Joc Pederson in from second after he’s lined a single to left to lead off the first, 1-0.

A walk to Max Muncy loaded the bases with one out, and Sánchez up to 22 pitches, and he fell behind A.J. Pollock 3-0, but a swinging bunt on the 3-0 pitch got the Nats an out at the plate, and a grounder to first ended a 31-pitch frame.

Sánchez settled in nicely after the rough first, retiring 11 straight Dodgers after Los Angeles loaded the bases in the top of the first, with just 26 pitches between the second and fourth innings.

A 1-2-3 fifth inning gave the Nats’ starter 14-straight outs, and he was up to 17 in a row set down after a 12-pitch, 1-2-3 sixth.

Sánchez came back out in the seventh and retired the Dodgers in order to end his outing with 20-straight outs. 20. Straight.

Aníbal Sánchez’s Line: 7.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 Ks, 89 P, 58 S, 10/2 GO/FO.

Ryu vs D.C.: Hyun-Jin Ryu held the Nationals to one hit in 8.0 scoreless when he faced them in LA back on May 12th, taking a no-hit bid into the eighth inning before Gerardo Parra hit a one-out double off the Dodgers’ left-hander.

“He was good,” Davey Martinez said after a 6-0 loss in Los Angeles that day. “He used both sides of the plate, kept us off-balance. I know he’s thrown a lot of consecutive shutout innings, but he was good. He was around the plate, we couldn’t really get nothing going.”

“The game plan was on point. Has been on point. I can’t say enough about Hyun-Jin,” LA’s skipper Dave Roberts told reporters.

Since the Nationals last saw him, Ryu was (6-1) in 11 starts, with a 1.78 ERA, 11 walks, 58 Ks, and a .245/.279/.338 line against in 70 23 IP.

Tonight in the nation’s capital, Ryu was staked to a 1-0 lead before taking the mound, and he threw three scoreless on 47 pitches to start.

Anthony Rendon doubled and Juan Soto walked in the first two at bats of the Nats’ fourth, but Howie Kendrick popped up behind home trying to bunt and two quick outs followed, letting Ryu off the hook in a 14P frame that left him at 61 total.

After a scoreless fifth, Ryu was up to 13 scoreless innings against the Nationals this season, and he worked around back-to-back two-out hits in the sixth to make it 14.

Back-to-back singles by Brian Dozier and Victor Robles and an ROE on a bunt by Gerardo Parra loaded the bases with no one out in the bottom of the seventh, but Trea Turner hit into a force at home for out No. 1. Adam Eaton and Ryu locked horns in an 11-pitch at bat, which Eaton won, lining an RBI single over short to drive Robles in, though Parra tried to score and was thrown out at home by Dodgers’ left fielder Alex Verdugo...

That was it for Ryu, who left with the score tied at 1-1 in the seventh and two runners on...

Hyun-Jin Ryu’s Line: 6.2 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 Ks, 103 P, 69 S, 9/1 GO/FO.

Nats vs Lefties: As a team, the Nationals had a National League-leading .356 OBP vs lefties this season before tonight’s game, which was the second-best on-base percentage vs LHP in the majors, behind only the Houston Astros (.369 OBP), and they were ranked second in the NL in both AVG (.282) and SLG (.484) against left-handed pitchers.

Two Bags, Lots of Hits: Going into tonight’s series opener with the Dodgers, Nationals’ third baseman Anthony Rendon had hit safely in 14 of his last 15 games, going 21 for 58 (.370 AVG) with eight doubles, two home runs, 13 RBIs, seven walks, and nine runs scored in that stretch, and a .441 on-base percentage and .603 slugging percentage in those games.

Rendon lined out to left the first time up against Hyun-Jin Ryu, then doubled for the 30th time this season on a first-pitch fastball to lead off the fourth, though he was stranded at second three outs later, after making it hits in 15 of his last 16.

BULLPEN ACTION: Joe Kelly came on for LA with Anthony Rendon at the plate and two on with two out in a 1-1 game in the seventh and went to a full count before popping Rendon up for out No. 3.

Javy Guerra got the eighth for the Nationals, in a 1-1 game, and retired the two batters he faced before Davey Martinez went to the pen for Tony Sipp, who gave up a walk and a hit.

Kyle Barraclough, (called up from Double-A today), came on with two on and two out and Justin Turner at the plate, threw a wild pitch on his second offering, moving both runners into scoring position, then threw 95 MPH 3-1 fastball up in the zone that went out to left-center field for a three-run blast and a 4-1 Dodgers’ lead.

Pedro Baez gave up a two-out single by Kurt Suzuki but stranded him at first.

Michael Blazek got through a scoreless ninth to keep it 4-1.

Kenley Jansen came on in the ninth and gave up a two-out single by Trea Turner, then hit Adam Eaton, and walked Anthony Rendon, loading the bases in front of Juan Soto.

Soto took a first-pitch slider for a strike, spit on an 0-1 slider in the dirt, and took two pitches up out of the zone, 3-1, and walked on a 3-2 pitch that went to the backstop, forcing a run in to make it 4-2.

Howie Kendrick came up next and fell behind 0-2 before striking out on a 1-2 fastball up in the zone.

4-2 LA final.

Nationals now 55-48