STEPHEN WHYNO, AP Sports Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) — Putting guys on base was easy for the Los Angeles Dodgers, especially early in the game. Getting them home, that was the problem.READ MORE: 23rd Annual 'A Home For The Holidays At The Grove' Comes To CBS On Sunday, December 5th
So after leaving ’em loaded three times and missing a chance to take a commanding lead over Washington in the NL Division Series, the Dodgers headed home tied at 1-all after a 5-2 loss Sunday.
Overall, LA went 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position — 0 for 5 with the bases loaded — and stranded 12. That gave the Dodgers an empty feeling going back to Chavez Ravine for Game 3 on Monday afternoon.
“Whether it’s a combination of their guys making good pitches or us just not getting the job done, that changes the whole game,” said right fielder Josh Reddick, whose RBI single was that one hit with runners in scoring position. “For the guys, I’m sure they’re beating themselves up.”
Washington starter Tanner Roark looked very beatable, as LA got seven hits off him, including rookie shortstop Corey Seager’s first-inning home run that was his second in as many games.
The Dodgers left the bases loaded in the second inning and again in the third. The frustrating trend was made worse when backup Nationals catcher Jose Lobaton hit a three-run homer off Rich Hill in the fourth for a 3-2 lead.
Hill tried to say the loss falls “solely” on him, but there was no one in the visiting clubhouse who agreed with that sentiment.
Hill did have a chance at the plate. He struck out with three runners on in the second and then Chase Utley grounded out.
Yasmani Grandal grounded into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded in the third. In the fifth, again with the bases loaded, Grandal struck out and pinch hitter Howie Kendrick lined out to left.
Manager Dave Roberts said his team “stressed” Roark, who lasted only 4 1/3 innings, but the Dodgers then didn’t get a hit off the Nationals’ bullpen until there was one out in the ninth.
“We had the bases loaded, so we had some opportunities, just didn’t capitalize,” Roberts said.
Added Seager: “You did what you were looking for in getting the starter out early. Unfortunately we missed that big hit against the bullpen.”
Stranding 11 runners against Roark had the Dodgers wondering what could have been. But splitting the first two games of a series on the road gave them something of a silver lining, especially after the rain-postponed Game 2 made the wait for Game 3 at Dodger Stadium even shorter.
“If you’ve got to win two out of three, you want to have most of those games at home, and we do,” first baseman Adrian Gonzalez said.READ MORE: MDHHS Updates COVID-19 Quarantine Guidance For Michigan Schools
HILL HANGS CURVE
Hill hung his head after the loss, regretting a hanging curveball he left up to Lobaton on the homer and two inside pitches that hit Nationals shortstop Danny Espinosa. The 36-year-old lefty had seven strikeouts but came out after 4 1/3 innings and was hard on himself for not executing pitches how he wanted.
“I believe we’re tied in the series now because I didn’t execute,” Hill said. “For me it’s extremely disappointing.”
SEAGER MAKES HISTORY
With his second home run of the series, Seager tied Jim Gilliam for the most home runs in a postseason for a Dodgers rookie and joined Pee Wee Reese as the only Dodgers shortstops with multiple postseason home runs. On Friday, he went deep off Washington ace Max Scherzer.
Asked to explain his success early in games, Seager said: “I don’t know. Luck, whatever it is.”
MURPHY MAKES DIFFERENCE
Nationals 2B Daniel Murphy went 3 for 3 with 2 RBIs, a walk and a run scored, drawing “M-V-P” chants from the sellout crowd of 43,826. Murphy tormented LA for the second straight October after helping the New York Mets advance past the Dodgers a year ago.
“Ever since last year he just seems to be the guy that comes up in the clutch,” Reddick said. “It shows what he can do this year, and playoff-wise it’s something special.”
In Game 3, the Dodgers will have RHP Kenta Maeda (16-11, 3.48 ERA) on the mound against Nationals LHP Gio Gonzalez (11-11, 4.57. The Nationals are hoping Gonzalez can take advantage of the Dodgers’ worst-in-the-majors batting average against left-handed pitchers. Maeda led LA pitchers in wins, innings (175 2/3), strikeouts (179) and starts (32).
AP Sports Writer Howard Fendrich contributed to this report.MORE NEWS: More Than 100 Michigan Schools Close Due To Copycat Threats After Oxford High Shooting
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