Matt Kamlet, CBSLA.com
WASHINGTON D.C. — The rain clouds over the nation’s capital set an appropriate tone for the start of Zack Greinke’s night.
Greinke, whose 18 consecutive regular-season starts of 5.0 innings or more with two or fewer runs allowed was the longest such streak in the Major Leagues since 1914, would see his night cut short due to rain, after giving up two earned runs and throwing 54 pitches over the first three innings of the game.
Greinke, who was undefeated in his previous 13 starts against National League opponents, dating back to May, 2011, took the loss as the Washington Nationals kept the Dodger bats quiet on Monday night, 4-0.
Amongst the raindrops, Greinke began the ball game by giving up a leadoff double to Denard Span, followed by a home run to Anthony Rendon, good for a pair of runs to open a 2-0 lead for the Nationals.
The game came into delay just after the top of the fourth inning, as the rain picked up, drenching the field. The grounds crew of Nationals Park was put to work, trying, in vain, to dry out the infield dirt. Mattingly, looking out for his club, who was told to take the field throughout the process, had a conversation with the umpire crew before the tarp was ultimately brought out for an official delay.
The delay lasted three hours and 14 minutes, and the ball game resumed at about 11:40 p.m. local time.
Greinke, unable to retake the mound after the extended delay, was relieved by Brandon League, with the rain still falling, albeit more lightly.
League, who came into the ball game having not given up an earned run in his last 11 innings since April 16, kept his momentum going after two shutout innings.
League would retire the side without giving up a hit or walk, and would remain in the lineup in the top of the fifth to record his third career Major League plate appearance.
After giving up two lead off singles in the bottom of the inning, League found himself in trouble. Rendon, who had knocked in the only two runs to that point, then hit a hard grounder directly to Juan Uribe at third. Sensing the perfect setup for a triple-play, Uribe tagged and fired to Dee Gordon at second. After retiring his runner, Gordon’s throw to first was interrupted by a slide from Span. The ball was just low enough to allow Rendon to reach safetly.
The inning would end on a Jayson Werth ground out, preserving League’s streak for the moment.
The ballpark, following the delay, was virtually emptied, with a handful of faithful fans of both ball clubs sticking around to wait out the rain. There was even a foul ball from Sandy Leon that fans were scaling and entire section to try to find.
It took well over a minute to locate.
While the Dodgers had posted double-digit hits in five of their last eight games, they have struggled bringing runners across the plate. A golden opportunity presented itself in the seventh, when Matt Kemp led the inning off with a double to left field. Andre Ethier followed with a ground out to short, with Uribe then flying out to left. The opportunity to cut the lead in half was erased when Miguel Olivo struck out swinging.
Rookie Pedro Baez saw his major league debut in the bottom of the eighth, but most certainly did not picture it going the way it did.
Within the first four pitches of his Major League debut, Baez gave up his first single, followed by his first home run, after former Long Beach State Dirtbag Danny Espinosa hammered a 2-run shot to right to score Ian Desmond, doubling the National lead, 4-0.