Nats take suspended game on late home run
WASHINGTON -- After Friday's series opener was suspended at the end of the fifth inning because of a faulty circuit breaker, the Nationals defeated the Dodgers, 5-3, as the game was completed on Saturday at Nationals Park.
Once play resumed at 2:05 p.m. ET, the Nationals couldn't hold on to their 3-2 lead. In the top of the sixth inning, Adrian Gonzalez hit his second home run of the game, this time a solo shot over the left-field wall. He had hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning on Friday.
The Nationals and Dodgers ended up using a combined 10 pitchers. The ninth pitcher used in the game, right-hander Pedro Baez, allowed the game-winning hit in the bottom of the eighth inning, when pinch-hitter Matt den Dekker hit a two-run homer. It was the first pinch-hit homer of his career.
"It was a first-pitch fastball. I was just ready to be aggressive early," den Dekker said. "Coming off the bench, you have to be ready to go. I just got a pitch over the plate and got the barrel on it."
Drew Storen escaped a jam to pick up his 28th save of the season with a scoreless ninth. It looked like Joc Pederson hit a three-run homer over the left-field wall with two outs, but at the last second, the ball curved foul. Storen then struck out Pederson to end the game.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Escobar and den Dekker come through: Yunel Escobar went 3-for-5 in the game. It was his 27th multihit game of the year. His biggest hit came in the fifth inning against Chin-hui Tsao, when Escobar blasted a two-run homer to give Washington a 3-2 lead.
"We'll hit him all over the lineup. It doesn't matter to him. He'll just continue to play baseball," manager Matt Williams said.
But it was den Dekker who came through with the winning hit by swinging at the first pitch he saw in the eighth for his second homer of the year.
Stay with me here: Gonzalez homered in the same game but on different days, accounting for all of the Dodgers' runs in the series opener. In the fourth inning (Friday night), Gonzalez's 19th home run of the season entered the right-field deck and put the Dodgers ahead 2-1. Two innings -- but 18 hours later -- Gonzalez managed to sneak one over the left-field wall for the 19th multihomer game of his career.
"Adrian kind of takes [the pressure] off of us right away," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "He gets that home run and ties the game for us, so now it's just a game that you're tied in the sixth. From there, we're back to square quick."
You stay there: Six Nationals batted in the seventh inning and it took a trio of Dodgers pitchers to record three outs, but they did so without breaking the 3-3 tie. Joel Peralta started the inning. He recorded two outs but allowed two baserunners -- Escobar reached on a double that Howie Kendrick lost in the lights and Bryce Harper was intentionally walked. J.P. Howell faced only Clint Robinson, who walked to load the bases. Then the bullpen phone rang for Baez, who struck out Wilson Ramos to end the threat.
Quality innings by the Nats: The Nationals needed five pitchers to beat the Dodgers because of the suspended game. Casey Janssen ended up with the victory, pitching one shutout inning and striking out two batters.
"It's a humdinger of a game if you win it. If you don't, it doesn't feel as good. It doesn't get any easier with the next two guys we have to face. We'll see what we can do." -- Williams
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Nationals are 30-3 when Escobar scores at least one run in a game.
LEE AVAILABLE OUT OF BULLPEN
The Dodgers called up right-handed pitcher Zach Lee to be their 26th man for the regularly scheduled game on Saturday. When asked about the strategy behind the move, Mattingly replied, "He's a pitcher."
Lee, a starter in the Minor Leagues, will serve in long relief. The 23-year-old has not appeared in a Major League game in his career.