The Washington Nationals own a 2-1 lead in their National League Division Series after an 8-3 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on Monday.

Nationals left fielder Jayson Werth delivered in a big way, going 3-for-4 with two runs batted in and two runs scored.

Werth and the Washington offense delivered as starter Gio Gonzalez lasted only 4.1 innings. The veteran left-hander exited after surrendering three earned runs on four hits and one walk. He struck out four.

Dodgers starter Kenta Maeda struggled in the first postseason start of his MLB career. Over three innings, he allowed four earned runs on five hits, two walks and a hit batter while striking out four.

Command was an issue for Maeda, who threw 63 pitches. The Los Angeles Times‘ Andy McCullough opined that home plate umpire Ron Kulpa squeezed the strike zone:

The game began brightly for the Dodgers.

For the third contest in a row, rookie shortstop Corey Seager drove in the first run of the game. After homering in Games 1 and 2, he doubled to right-center field to plate third baseman Justin Turner.

MLB Network shared a replay of the extra-base hit:

The McCovey Chronicles’ Grant Brisbee isn’t looking forward to seeing Seager in the National League West for the foreseeable future:

Maeda averted damage in the first inning, striking out Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman with the bases loaded and two outs. In the third, the rookie right-hander wasn’t so lucky, as Washington scored four runs to take a 4-1 lead.

Center fielder Trea Turner led off with a single to center, and Werth doubled into the right field corner to get the Nationals on the board. The New York Times‘ James Wagner thought Turner showed tremendous speed by scoring from first base:

After second baseman Daniel Murphy flied out, right fielder Bryce Harper scored Werth with a single to right. Third baseman Anthony Rendon then stepped to the plate and hammered a fastball over the left-center field wall.

MLB Network provided a second look at the homer:’s Daren Willman showed Maeda couldn’t have done a worse job placing the two-seamer:

In the bottom of the fifth, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts opted to use Carlos Ruiz to pinch hit for reliever Pedro Baez, who had replaced Maeda to start the fourth. In 14 regular-season games with Los Angeles after being traded by the Philadelphia Phillies, Ruiz didn’t hit a single home run and slugged .333.

After the August deal, Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported the Dodgers thought Ruiz could strengthen their lineup against left-handed pitching. The 37-year-old justified the trade when he hit a two-run home run to bring Los Angeles within a run.

According to ESPN Stats & Info, it was the Dodgers’ first pinch-hit homer in a postseason home game since Kirk Gibson’s walk-off home run in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.

The drive jolted the crowd, and the Los Angeles Times‘ Lindsey Thiry shared a clip of the fans’ reaction:

Sammy Solis replaced Gonzalez and quieted the crowd a bit when he got left fielder Howie Kendrick to ground out to second. After Justin Turner walked, Seager brought the fans to their feet with a long fly ball to center field, but it was well short of the wall and landed in the glove of Trea Turner.

The trio of Solis, Oliver Perez and Shawn Kelley did well to shut down the Dodgers offense, allowing just two hits and one walk while striking out five over 3.2 innings.

In the top of the ninth, Werth put another run on the board for Washington with a solo homer to left field.

NFL Network’s Andrew Siciliano noted Werth joined elite company with the homer:

It was a surprising misstep by Los Angeles closer Kenley Jansen, who surrendered only four home runs in 68.2 innings during the regular season.

The trouble continued for Jansen, as he walked Murphy and hit Harper. Rendon then popped out, but Zimmerman followed with a two-run double to right field and moved to third when second baseman Chase Utley tried to throw Harper out at home.’s David Schoenfield pointed out Jansen faltered in high-pressure moments this year:

Ross Stripling took over for Jansen and surrendered a sacrifice fly to pinch hitter Chris Heisey to make it an 8-3 game. It was the fourth run charged to Jansen. Rarely has the 29-year-old unraveled to such an extent, per Fox Sports’ C.J. Nitkowski:

The five-run lead was more than enough for Nationals closer Mark Melancon, who retired the Dodgers in order to end the game.

Julio Urias is scheduled to pitch for Los Angeles in Game 4, though McCullough reported Sunday that ace Clayton Kershaw, who won Game 1, could start.’s Ken Gurnick added more information Monday:

Ideally, the Dodgers would hold Kershaw back so he can pitch Game 5 on Thursday with five days’ rest.

But Los Angeles has to win Game 4 on Tuesday in order to get there, so Roberts may not want to leave his best pitcher on the bench in a must-win situation. In addition, relying on a 20-year-old rookie in a critical playoff game could be risky—though Urias was 5-2 with a 3.17 FIP in the regular season, according to

Roberts has a difficult decision on his hands as he looks to keep the Dodgers alive.


Postgame Reaction

Werth said the continuity of Washington’s roster is paying dividends in the postseason, per Gurnick and Jamal Collier of

We’re a resilient club. We’ve got a good group of guys. The nucleus of this club has been together a long time. We’ve got a lot of chemistry and all that stuff, but we’ve been doing it for years over here. We’ve come from behind to win a lot of games. We’ve been one of the game’s best teams the past four or five years as far as wins go. So we know how to play, how to win. I like our chances.

Roberts declined to name a starter for Game 4.

“The use of the pen today, no off day tomorrow, those are things we’re going to keep in mind,” he said, according to Jon Weisman of Dodger Insider.

Gurnick reported Roberts is unsure about starting Kershaw in Game 4 because he’d then have to use Urias on the road in Game 5.

Nationals manager Dusty Baker said his starter for Game 4 will be either Joe Ross or Reynaldo Lopez, per Collier.

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