Series: Game 1 of 3

LA Dodgers leads 1-0 (as of 7/19)

Game 1: Friday, July 19
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Game 2: Saturday, July 20
LA Dodgers3Final
in 10
Game 3: Sunday, July 21
LA Dodgers9Final

Dodgers 3

(48-47, 21-24 away)

Nationals 2

(48-48, 27-19 home)

    Coverage:  MASN

    7:05 PM ET, July 19, 2013

    Nationals Park, Washington, D.C. 

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    W: R. Belisario (4-5)

    L: R. Soriano (1-2)

    S: K. Jansen (10)

    Andre Ethier's 9th-inning HR lifts Dodgers by Nats

    Associated Press

    WASHINGTON -- Andre Ethier thought it was gone. Then he wasn't so sure.

    Leading off the ninth in a tie game, Ethier pulled Rafael Soriano's two-strike slider and watched it sail through the oppressive, humid July air in the nation's capital. It barely cleared the high wall, with right fielder Jayson Werth a helpless spectator for the deciding blow in the Los Angeles Dodgers' back-from-the-break 3-2 win Friday night over the Washington Nationals.

    "I was jogging at first," Ethier said. "I saw the outfielder get to the wall real quick, Werthy there. ... When he did that I actually starting running real hard because I thought maybe it was going to go off (the wall)."

    Hanley Ramirez also homered, and overnight sensation Yasiel Puig made a highlight throw and an even better catch for the Dodgers, who picked up where they left off before the All-Star break, winning for the seventh time in nine games and moving back above .500 to keep the pressure on the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NL West.

    "It's weird how confidence can really sometimes sway things, and that feeling can really sway things either way," Ethier said. "It was really tough to get that confident, good feeling going. Hopefully we can keep it going."

    The Nationals were hoping to make up ground in the NL East as they began a season-long, 11-game homestand. Instead, they lost for the sixth time in eight games to fall back to .500 and into third place, trailing the first-place Atlanta Braves by seven games.

    They also resumed their habit of failing to support Stephen Strasburg, whose ERA dropped to 2.97 to go with his 5-7 record. The two-run homer by Ramirez accounted for the right-hander's only runs allowed over seven innings, and he retired the last 11 batters he faced, but the Nationals failed to score when they had the bases loaded with none out against Dodgers starter Ricky Nolasco in the fourth inning.

    "It's very frustrating. You get a guy on the ropes like that, you've got to capitalize," said Chad Tracy, who hit a shallow fly ball for the second out in the inning. "We just didn't get it done."

    The Nationals were 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position. Manager Davey Johnson said he will move Bryce Harper back to the leadoff spot when Adam LaRoche returns. LaRoche missed the game with flu-like symptoms.

    "We didn't drive in hardly any runs," Johnson said. "We swung the bats pretty good, but it leaves a tough taste in your mouth."

    Compounding things was the second ninth-inning homer allowed by Soriano (1-2) in three appearances.

    "I don't know how he hit the ball. ... When I make good pitch and the hitter hit the ball good like tonight, there's nothing I can do," Soriano said.

    Ronald Belisario (4-5) faced only one batter to get the win, his 14th consecutive appearance without a run allowed. Kenley Jansen pitched the ninth for his 10th save.

    Ricky Nolasco, in his third start with the Dodgers, gave up two runs over 5 1/3 innings against the same club that beat him 2-0 on opening day when he was with the Miami Marlins.

    Puig made a stunning on-the-fly throw from right field to third base in the second inning in time to get Harper, who had tagged up from second, but umpire Eric Cooper signaled safe. The Cuban rookie also hung on to a foul fly from Anthony Rendon while crashing into the wall to end the seventh inning.

    "Everything in the field, I catch," Puig said through a translator. "If it's not a home run, I'll catch it."

    Game notes

    Dodgers CF Matt Kemp took some at-bats in a simulated game Friday. He's been on the disabled list since July 6 with joint inflammation in his left shoulder. "We'll see when I start playing," he said. "Practice is totally different from the game." ... Los Angeles LF Carl Crawford batted leadoff after not starting for five straight games because of a sore back. ... Johnson said he's "not hopeful" that LHP Ross Detwiler will return from the disabled list and start Tuesday as originally planned. Detwiler has been dealing with a lower back strain and was feeling sore Friday after throwing on flat ground Thursday. Taylor Jordan will remain in the rotation until Detwiler is healthy.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Game Information

    StadiumNationals Park, Washington, D.C.
    Attendance39,146 (94.3% full) - % is based on regular season capacity
    Game Time3:00
    Weather92 degrees, cloudy
    Wind4 mph
    UmpiresHome Plate - Paul Schrieber, First Base - Chad Fairchild, Second Base - Jeff Kellogg, Third Base - Eric Cooper

    Research Notes

    Ethier has also picked up his production as his batting average has increased every month this season.
    Hanley Ramirez is having one of the best seasons of his career. Here's a Next Level look at what he's doing right... Roughing up righties: Ramirez has the best BA in baseball against righties (.417) plus his strikeout rate is 13% . From 2009 to 2012 he hit .289 with a strikeout rate of 17% against righties. Crushing fastballs: Ramirez is batting .429 against fastballs this season, 2nd in MLB only to Allen Craig. Since 2009, Ramirez's previous best BA against fastballs was .338 in 2010. Success the other way: Ramirez is batting .483 on balls in play to the opposite field, by far his best average over the last five seasons. His previous best was .371 in 2009.
    Andre Ethier: 3-for-3 with 2 game-winning HR in career vs Rafael Soriano. He hit a walk-off HR vs Soriano on August 6, 2009, then hit a go-ahead HR against him tonight.
    Yasiel Puig has received most of the credit for the Dodgers resurgence, but overall this season, Hanley Ramirez has a better BA (.382 vs .381), more HR (9 vs 8) and more RBI (27 vs 19). Their season stats are very close, but since the Dodgers recent run, Ramirez has clearly been the team leader on offense.
    The Dodgers improve to 48-47. They haven't been 2 games over .500 since they were 7-5 after a loss on April 14 (season-high is 3 games over .500 -- 6-3 and 7-4)
    Andre Ethier: 7th go-ahead HR in 9th inning or later in last 5 seasons, tied for most in that span w/ Matt Kemp, Adam Jones, Chris Young, Jay Bruce

    ESPN Stats & Information