Anthony Rendon hit a solo home run and Matt Wieters hit a two-run single as the Nationals got revenge for the NLDS, beating the Dodgers 4-2. Gio Gonzalez held the Dodgers to two runs over six innings and the Nationals’ bullpen kept the Dodgers scoreless over three innings.
The Dodgers were unable to do much against Gio Gonzalez until the sixth inning when they finally scored two runs. Gonzalez has pitched well against the Dodgers in his career, winning his last four starts against the Dodgers. Gonzalez had the Dodgers fooled throughout most of the game as he got them to extend the zone with two strikes.
The Dodgers finally got to Gonzalez in the sixth inning. Logan Forsythe led off the frame with a walk, then Corey Seager singled sending Forsythe to third. Gio Gonzalez then threw a fastball over the heart of the plate to Chris Taylor, who drove it into the left-field corner for an RBI double. Forsythe scored making it a 4-1 game. Franklin Gutierrez then hit a weak ground ball to third base that Rendon picked up and fired to first to throw Gutierrez out. Seager scored on the play, cutting the Nationals’ lead to 4-2. The momentum of the inning changed after Gutierrez’s groundout, as the next two Dodgers’ batters also grounded out.
When you look at the box score from Monday night, it looks like Hyun-Jin Ryu had a terrible game. Ryu did allow four earned runs, but he also pitched seven innings for the first time since 2014. If that isn’t an improvement then I don’t know what is. Really, Ryu pitched a good game but made Rendon and Wieters took advantage of a couple mistakes.
Anthony Rendon started the scoring in the second inning with two outs and nobody on base. In a 3-2 count, Ryu needed to throw a strike, so he threw a changeup. The pitch, however, was at a perfect place to be hit far and that is what Rendon did. He got his bat on the ball and drove it over the wall in left field for a solo home run, giving the Nats a 1-0 lead. After the home run and an error that extended the inning, Ryu settled down and got the final out without allowing another run.
In the fourth inning, Matt Wieters capitalized on a mistake by Ryu to extend the Nats lead. The Nats had runners on second and third with two outs. Wieters was the batter and Ryu, not wanting a breaking ball to get away from Barnes, threw four straight fastballs. Wieters swing at and missed the first one, then fouled off the next two. After three straight fastballs, Wieters was looking for another one and that is exactly what Ryu threw. The fastball was too far over the plate and Wieters drove it into center field for a single. Both runners scored and the Nationals had a 3-0 lead.
Ryu made another mistake in the fifth inning and the Nationals capitalized on it. Bryce Harper was the batter with a runner on third base and a 1-0 count. Ryu threw a curveball that didn’t break enough and Harper hit it just out of Seager’s reach into left-center field. The run scored and the Nationals had a 4-0 lead.
Keys To The Game:
Both teams had great defensive plays on Monday night so let’s take a look at them. In the first inning, Logan Forsythe robbed Ryan Raburn of a single with a diving stop at third base. It also helped to have Kiké Hernández did it out at first base. In the third, Raburn’s bad luck continued as Corey Seager robbed him of a single with a backhanded play and a strong throw to first base to get him. Hernández once again helped his team out at first base, going into the splits to complete the play.
In the bottom of the third, Trea Turner robbed Logan Forsythe of a hit with a play nearly identical to the one Seager made to rob Raburn of a hit earlier in the inning. Yasiel Puig wanted to get in on the action, and he got his chance in the top of the sixth inning. Daniel Murphy hit a sinking line drive to right field that Puig dove for and made the catch. Of course, after making the catch and hitting the ground, Puig added a roll to make it look even more dramatic.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, the Dodgers had a runner on the second base with two outs and a 2-2 count to Yasmani Grandal. Instead of using his normal delivery, Óliver Pérez quick pitched Grandal and struck him out looking on a curveball. Grandal had almost no time to react as Pérez surprised him by skipping his normal windup.
The Nationals will send their Ace Max Scherzer to the mound and the Dodgers will counter with Brandon McCarthy. Scherzer has a record of 2-0 with an ERA of 1.02 and 24 strikeouts over his last two outings. McCarthy will hope that the blisters on his right hand do not flare up as he tries to bounce back from a loss to the Cardinals. The game will start at 7:10 pm PT and be televised on SportsNet LA.