LOS ANGELES -- This time, Corey Seager didn't leave the yard in the first inning. Instead, it was his RBI double in the opening frame of Game 3 that staked the Dodgers to yet another early lead in the National League Division Series.For the second day in a row, however,
LOS ANGELES -- This time, Corey Seager didn't leave the yard in the first inning. Instead, it was his RBI double in the opening frame of Game 3 that staked the Dodgers to yet another early lead in the National League Division Series.
For the second day in a row, however, Seager's early theatrics weren't enough, as the Nationals pushed the Dodgers to the brink of elimination with an 8-3 victory on Monday at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers will try to even the series in Tuesday's Game 4 (2 p.m. PT on FS1).
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"We've missed the big hit in the last two games," Seager said. "It happens. We've got to move on. Tomorrow, we've got to find that big hit. Somebody's got to step up for us."
If anyone's going to step up, Seager would seem to be a likely candidate. The rookie shortstop -- who had homered in the first inning of Games 1 and 2 in Washington -- launched a one-out double off the wall in right-center, plating Justin Turner from first base. For the third straight game in this best-of-five series, Seager had put the Dodgers on top, 1-0.
After Howie Kendrick opened the frame by lining out to right field, Turner reached on a walk from Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez. The Nats' left-hander then grooved a first-pitch curveball to Seager, which he sent to the right-center-field gap for his third RBI of the series.
"Whatever it is -- it's one of those things that we like to get on the board early," Seager said. "We've gotten it in the first three games."
The franchise record for extra-base hits in a Division Series round is six, set by Hanley Ramirez in 2013 and matched by Turner last year. Seager became the first Dodgers player in postseason history to record a first-inning RBI in three straight games.
Of course, you don't have to look very far to find the last player with an RBI extra-base hit in the first inning of three straight. Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy did so for the Mets last year in Game 5 of the NLDS against the Dodgers, and Games 1 and 2 of the NL Championship Series.
Ultimately, Murphy and the Nationals had the final say on Monday, as Seager finished 1-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts -- including one to open the eighth inning against Nationals reliever Shawn Kelley.
"What a job that Kelley did for us," said Washington manager Dusty Baker. "I mean, he went through the heart of the order and that's the best we've seen him in a while. ... He got some outstanding hitters out today."
Added Dodgers manager Dave Roberts: "It felt good after the double by Corey, and we had some momentum. But you know, just right there, [starting pitcher] Kenta [Maeda] was missing, getting behind, and some fastballs leaked back over the plate. They made him pay."
AJ Cassavell is in his sixth season as a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.