The Washington Nationals leveled their National League Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers with a 5-2 victory in Game 2 at Nationals Park on Sunday.

Neither starting pitcher made it through the fifth inning, which Fox Sports’ C.J. Nitkowski pointed out has been a trend during the postseason:

Los Angeles’ Rich Hill started strong but faded, going 4.1 innings and allowing four earned runs on six hits, two walks and two hit batsmen with seven strikeouts. Washington’s Tanner Roark, on the other hand, sputtered out of the gate but settled down, surrendering two earned runs on seven hits, three walks and a hit batsman in 4.1 innings.

The second batter of the game, Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager, deposited a 3-0 fastball over the wall in right-center field to give Los Angeles a 1-0 lead.

The 22-year-old also homered in the first inning of Game 1 of the NLDS, becoming the first Dodgers player since Juan Uribe and Carl Crawford in 2013 to hit home runs in back-to-back postseason games, according to Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A.

The Southern California News Group’s J.P. Hoornstra noted Nationals fans didn’t hold back their feelings after Seager’s solo homer:

Los Angeles loaded the bases with one out in the second, but Roark got Hill to strike out swinging and Chase Utley to ground out to end the threat.

In the bottom of the frame, Washington loaded the bases with one out, but Nationals catcher Jose Lobaton grounded back to Hill for a 1-2-3 double play to end the inning. The veteran left-hander knew he had averted disaster, according to’s J.A. Adande:

Lobaton gained a measure of revenge, however, in the bottom half of the fourth.

After the Dodgers had doubled their lead on a single by Josh Reddick in the third, Hill walked Daniel Murphy and hit Danny Espinosa to put runners on first and second with two outs. Lobaton then emptied the bases with a three-run home run to left field.

The Washington Post‘s Chelsea Janes noted the homer was only Lobaton’s second hit against a left-hander all year.

Baseball writer Joe Sheehan pointed out how ridiculous the sport can be sometimes:

Another industry pundit, Jonah Keri, had to reverse course on a piece in which he was praising Hill’s work:

Los Angeles failed to capitalize on another golden opportunity a half-inning later. With two on and one out, Marc Rzepczynski relieved Roark and walked Yasiel Puig to load the bases. The left-hander escaped damage by striking out Yasmani Grandal and getting Howie Kendrick to line out to Jayson Werth in left field.

Leaving men on base was a major problem for the Dodgers, as’s Jamal Collier noted:

Washington added to its lead in its next turn at the plate. After Trea Turner and Bryce Harper led off the bottom of the fifth with singles, Murphy plated Turner with one out to make it 4-2.

Kendrick kept the score there, however, throwing out Harper at the plate as he attempted to tag up on Anthony Rendon’s fly ball to left.’s Doug Padilla praised the left fielder:

After a two-out double by Werth in the seventh, Murphy provided insurance with an RBI single to left, which brought an MVP chant from the home fans, per Anthony DiComo of

After relievers Sammy Solis, Blake Treinen and Oliver Perez combined for 2.1 perfect innings, Nationals closer Mark Melancon shut the door in the ninth to secure the win.

Since rain pushed Game 2 from Saturday to Sunday, Washington and Los Angeles won’t have a day off as the series shifts west. The first pitch of Game 3 is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET Monday at Dodger Stadium.

Gio Gonzalez will take the mound for the Nationals, while Kenta Maeda will get the nod for Los Angeles. The matchup doesn’t favor either team, as Gonzalez was 11-11 with a 3.76 FIP in the regular season and Maeda finished 16-11 with a 3.58 FIP, according to—though the Dodgers have struggled against lefties this year, slashing .213/.290/.332 compared to .264/.331/.441 against righties.


Postgame Reaction

“This falls solely on me,” Hill said, according to Ken Gurnick of “I believe we’re tied in the series because I didn’t execute.”

Seager added he and his fellow Dodgers hitters “missed the big hit,” per Gurnick.

Werth thought Lobaton’s three-run homer was a turning point for Washington, saying it “kind of felt like a monkey came off our back,” according to MASN’s Dan Kolko.

“I’m just so happy for Loby, man. He really deserves it,” Ryan Zimmerman said, per CSN Mid-Atlantic’s Chase Hughes. “He stays ready, works hard every day. Now he’s got an opportunity.”

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