Dodgers 7 13 1
Nationals 6 9 0
WP- Belisario (7-1)
LP- Clippard (2-5)
S- League (12)
HR- Morse (14), Lombardozzi (3), Kemp (19)
The Dodgers already dropped game one of the doubleheader at Nationals Park. Once again the Dodgers failed to score with runners in scoring position. Game two would be an entirely different ball game. Josh Beckett pitched brilliantly through seven innings, and he had only allowed two hits to the Nationals until the Dodgers imploded in the eighth inning to cough up their entire six-run lead. Even though they had almost the identical lineup as game one ( except for Matt Treanor behind the plate), the Dodgers’ bats were actually doing their job in game two. The Dodgers scored three runs in both the third and fourth inning to take a commanding 6-0 lead. Beckett was cruising until screech…the eighth inning stopped him in his tracks. Now remember, the Nationals have already won 90 games and they are one of the best teams in the Majors. They would not go down quietly. They came back to score six runs in the bottom of the eighth to tie up the game. Beckett allowed two homeruns to Morse and Lombardozzi, and Randy Choate allowed another two hits and two runs. Belisario came in as the third Dodger pitcher of the inning, and he adds fuel to the fire. Beli finally retires the Nationals, but we were all in shock as the lead was seemingly evaporated in one inning. Matt Kemp, who had earlier scored a run on a controversial play when Adrian Gonzalez was tagged out at third while jumping over the play, also scored the winning run with his 19th Bison Blast of the year in the bottom of the ninth.
Shane Victorino doubles to the gap in right center with one-out in the first inning against John Lannan. Matt Kemp, who made the final out in game one a mere half hour ago, makes the second out on a little comebacker. Adrian Gonzalez grounds out on a ball hit up the middle. Don Mattingly goes out to argue that he was safe at first. Gonzo looked safe by a hair on the replay, but the umpires rule in favor of Washington this time.
Josh Beckett goes to the mound for the Dodgers in the second game, and he retires the Nationals in order in the home half of the first.
In the second, Hanley Ramirez strikes out swinging. Andre Ethier hits a line drive right to the second baseman Lombardozzi. Luis Cruz doubles down into the right field corner, and that’s his third double of the day! Cochito had two doubles in game one. Matt Treanor grounds out, and for the second consecutive inning the Dodgers waste a double.
Mark Ellis singles with one out in the third. Victorino strikes out swinging. Matt Kemp and Adrian Gonzalez draw back-to-back walks to load up the bases. The Dodgers finally get a clutch hit as Hanley Ramirez singles to right center field, and Ellis and Kemp both score. The Dodgers finally have a lead, 2-0. Andre Ethier follows suit with a single to right, and Adrian Gonzalez chugs home for the Dodgers third run of the inning! Cruz strikes out to end the frame.
Beckett sends the Nats down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the third.
Matt Treanor leads off the fourth with a single. Beckett sacrifices Treanor over to second. Mark Ellis’s grounder moves Treanor to third base. Lannan hits Victorino with a pitch. Matt Kemp comes up with a RBI single, and the Dodgers are now up 4-0. Adrian Gonzalez singles, but Lombardozzi dives to keep it in the infield. Victorino has to stay at third, but the bases are juiced with two outs. That’s going to be all for John Lannan. Chien-Ming Wang comes out of the Washington bullpen. With Hanley at the plate, Victorino scores on a wild pitch by Wang. Hanley reaches on a fielder’s choice, and Matt Kemp scores even though Adrian Gonzalez is out at third after he tries to jump over Ryan Zimmerman who is fielding the ball. The Nats argue that Gonzalez was tagged out before Kemp scored, but the umpires side with the Dodgers on this play and they go up 6-0.
John Lannan pitched 3 2/3 innings allowing 6 runs on 8 hits, 2 walks, and 3 strikeouts on 76 pitches.
Josh Beckett is pitching superbly as he once again sends the Nationals down in order in the bottom half of the fourth inning. He’s only allowed one Washington hit thus far.
In the fifth, Ethier and Cruz hit back-to-back singles, but the Nats get out of the innings after Treanor, Beckett, and Ellis all ground out consecutively.
Beckett continues to pitch beautifully as he retires the side in order in the bottom of the fifth.
The Dodgers go down in order in the sixth versus Wang.
In the bottom of the sixth, Beckett allows a two out double to Corey Brown but that is all.
Zach Duke will pitch the seventh for Washington, and he sends the Dodgers down 1-2-3.
The Nats go down in order as well in the home half of the seventh.
Josh Beckett proceeds to totally meltdown in the eighth inning as Washington works back to chip away at the Dodgers lead. Michael Morse opens the inning with a solo homerun, and the Nats finally get on the board with their first run of the game. Ian Desmond singles. Then Steve Lombardozzi hits a two-run homerun, and all of a sudden the Dodgers’ lead is cut in half, 6-3. Jesus Flores grounds out for the first out of the inning. Corey Brown reaches safely on a fielding error by Gonzo and takes second on the play. Don Mattingly has finally seen enough, and he brings in the hook for Beckett. He’ll bring in the lefty Randy Choate. Choate can’t get anyone out, and the Nats continue their onslaught as Mark DeRosa and Bryce Harper hit back-to-back singles. Corey Brown scores, and it’s now 6-4. Mattingly has to go to the bullpen again, and he has to bring in Ronald Belisario. Danny Espinosa hits the third consecutive Washington single, and the bases are now loaded. Tyler Moore strikes out swinging. Michael Morse comes up as the Nationals have completely batted around. Morse comes up big, and his single brings in two runs to tie the game up 6-6. Belisario hits Desmond with a pitch, and the implosion of an inning continues. The last out finally comes on a comebacker by Lombardozzi. Unbelievable. That is why the Nationals are one of the best teams in baseball ladies and gentleman.
Josh Beckett pitched 7 1/3 innings, allowing 3 runs on 4 hits, no walks, and 2 strikeouts on 82 pitches.
Tyler Clippard comes into pitch the ninth inning for Washington. Matt Kemp, our savior, comes up and slams a solo shot to sway the lead back in the Dodgers favor! 7-6. Adrian Gonzalez singles. Hanley pops out. Ethier strikes out. With Cruz at the plate, Gonzalez steals second (only his second stolen base of the season). A wild pitch advances Gonzalez to third. Cruz pops out, and we head to the ninth inning with a slim one-run lead.
Brandon League comes into pitch the bottom of the ninth for the Dodgers. Jesus Flores grounds out. Corey Brown strikes out swinging. DeRosa grounds out, and the Dodgers hold on to win it!
No matter what happens, I would never doubt Matt Kemp or say negative things about him. Some fans have been very frustrated of late. That’s totally understandable. Believe me, I’ve been frustrated too. But Matt Kemp is playing through pain, and obviously he isn’t 100%. Yet he still goes out and gives 100%. He never gives up on a ball hit over his head, he never stops short of running all out on a ground ball, and he never gives up on his teammates either. He’s a true leader. We all can pretty much agree that the Dodgers are not going to win the World Series this season, but I am pretty confident that Matt Kemp will be the one to lead us to a World Championship soon.
The Dodgers improve to 77-72. St. Louis beat Houston tonight, so the Dodgers are 2 games back for the second Wild Card spot. The Brewers, who also won, are now right behind the Dodgers at 2 1/2 games back. It’s sure to be a WILD ride these last couple of weeks!