LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The road back to the playoffs for the Los Angeles Dodgers began with a decisive win Thursday night, but the boys in blue couldn’t capitalize on a ninth-inning rally that saw the bases loaded as Corey Seager went up to bat against Daniel Hudson.
At the end of the first, the score was 1-0 after pitcher Clayton Kershaw gave up a double on the first pitch of the night, walked two batters — filling the bases — and allowed a Howie Kendrick single, that brought Trea Turner home.
At the end of the second, the score was 3-0 after Kershaw walked the first batter, allowed a sacrifice bunt followed by an Adam Eaton single that scored Victor Robles and an Anthony Rendon double that scored Eaton.
“I was able to get out of that inning with limited damage, so that inning could have gotten bigger, obviously, so I was thankful to get out of that with one,” Kershaw said after the game. “That’s not what killed us. It was the second inning. It was not good.”
Kershaw came back in the third with three straight outs, and followed it up with a repeat in the fourth. Though he allowed a single in the fifth, the Dodgers were able to stave off another score by the Nationals.
The Dodgers got their first hit of the night in the bottom of the fifth with a single by rookie Will Smith, but were unable to score.
In the bottom of the sixth, Matt Beaty hit a single, followed by a Joc Pederson double and a sacrifice fly by Justin Turner that brought Beaty home for the Dodgers first score of the game. Nationals led 3-1 at the end of the sixth.
Kershaw was relieved at the top of the sixth by Pedro Baez, who allowed the first two batters to hit singles and struck out Rendon before being relieved by Adam Kolarek to face Juan Soto. Kolarek was relieved by Dustin May after Soto grounded out.
Max Muncy came through in the bottom of the seventh with a solo home run that had fans on their feet bringing the score to 3-2 at the end of the seventh.
MAD MAX. pic.twitter.com/e3GOjGwhu0
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) October 5, 2019
The top of the eighth started with a double, followed by a walk and a single that brought Ryan Zimmerman home and allowed the Nationals to pad the score — 4-2 at the end of the eighth.
May was relieved in the ninth by Julio Urias — the fifth pitcher of the game — who held the Nationals to four runs in the game.
It was Justin Turner who led the Dodgers’ rally in the bottom of the ninth with a lead-off double, followed by two walks to load the bases — but Seager couldn’t get a hit off of Daniel Hudson to bring the runs home.
“It’s the postseason, every game is difficult,” Turner said after the game. “The reason these teams are left is because they’re good baseball teams, so you don’t take anything for granted. You have to show up every day…and we just fell a little short tonight.”
After beating the Nationals 6-0 Thursday night in Game 1 of the National League Division Series, the boys in blue appeared poised to win Game 2.
“The chemistry has been key for this team’s success,” Jorge Jarrín, veteran Dodger broadcaster who travels with the team, said.
And on Thursday night, fans witnessed that camaraderie on the field as Muncy rallied the team after driving home two runs in the bottom of the fourth, followed in the bottom of the eighth with a home run by rookie Gavin Lux — his first major league postseason home run in his first postseason at-bat — and a home run by Joc Pederson.
But that chemistry appeared to be lacking in Game 2, as the Dodgers fielded five pitchers who, combined, allowed 10 hits and four runs.
“We’re going to have a different arm for Game 3, so we’ll be ready,” Dave Roberts, Dodgers manager, said. “And I’ll be certain we won’t punch 17 times.”
The best-of-five series will shift to Washington for Game 3 scheduled for 4:45 p.m. Sunday and Game 4 set for 3:40 p.m. Monday.
If necessary, Game 5 will be back at Dodger Stadium Wednesday, Oct. 9 with a starting time of 5:37 p.m.