Dodgers edge Nationals to square series, force Game 5
ABS-CBN Sports on Oct 12, 2016 10:11 AM
Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw throws against the Washington Nationals during the first inning in Game 4 of baseball's National League Division Series in Los Angeles, Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles' Chase Utley drove in the tiebreaking run with two outs in the eighth inning to lift the Dodgers to a 6-5 victory over Washington on Tuesday, squaring their National League Division Series at 2-2 and forcing a decisive Game 5.
The score was tied with two outs in the eighth when Andrew Toles got hit by a pitch from Blake Treinen. Andre Ethier followed with a single to left and Utley got a hit into right field, scoring Toles from second base for the winning run.
Desperate to avoid another early playoff exit, the Dodgers turned to pitching ace Clayton Kershaw on three days' rest.
Like his performance in Game 1, he was below his best but still ended on the winning side. He gave up five runs in 6-2/3 inning, striking out 11.
Kershaw opened the game by giving up a leadoff single and a walk, and Daniel Murphy drove in the game's first run.
The Dodgers took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the first inning on Adrian Gonzalez's two-run homer that scored Justin Turner, who was on base after being hit by a pitch from Joe Ross.
The Nationals drew level in the top of the third as Jayson Werth drove in a run.
Los Angeles again replied immediately in the bottom of the inning. Kershaw got the rally going with a double, clenching his fists in a rare show of emotion.
Kershaw scored on Turner's single with two outs. Joc Pederson got hit by a pitch from Ross with the bases loaded, forcing in Turner and making it 4-2 to the hosts.
Ross made his postseason debut for the Nationals, giving up four runs and being pulled after just 2-2/3 innings.
Trailing 5-2 in the seventh, the Nats had runners on first and second against Kershaw with two outs. The crowd chanted Kershaw's name before Bryce Harper drew an eight-pitch walk to load the bases and end the day for Kershaw, who walked off with his head down.
That's when the Dodgers bullpen nearly gave the game away.
Pedro Baez came in and hit Jayson Werth with his only pitch, forcing in a run to make it 5-3. Baez got booed off the field.
Murphy's single off Luis Avilan dropped safely in left-center field, scoring two runs to tie it at 5-5. Avilan also heard boos.
Joe Blanton retired Anthony Rendon on a swinging strikeout to finally end the inning.
Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen worked a scoreless ninth for a save, one day after giving up four late runs in a Game 3 loss.
Game 5 is Thursday in Washington, with 20-game winner Max Scherzer expected to pitch for the Nationals. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he will use left-hander Rich Hill and rookie Julio Urias, but did not announce which one will start.