LaRoche, Span give Nats 3-2 lead in ninth (Nats win 8-5 in 14 innings)

Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann looked workmanlike in his 1-2-3 dispatch of the Dodgers in the first inning Wednesday from Chavez Ravine. Zimmermann has a career 5.61 ERA in five starts against the Dodgers, so he would certainly like to change that and give the Nationals their fourth win in the past six games.

zimmermann pitching coors field sidebar.jpgThe Dodgers rookie Carlos Frias did well in the first inning. In the second, Bryce Harper reached on an infield single and Tyler Moore, starting at first base for Adam LaRoche (back tightness), slapped a clean single to left. But the Nationals were unable to get those runners home and have left three men on base in the first two innings.

Zimmermann struck out two batters in the second. No score through two innings.

Update: Frias has kept with Zimmermann. He has allowed only three hits through five innings amd has not allowed a hit since the third inning. Zimmermann has five strikeouts through four frames.

Through four and a half innings, still no score.

Update II: Zimmermann was masterful until the seventh. Carl Crawford doubled with one out. Justin Turner slammed a two-run homer over the center field wall and the Dodgers lead 2-0.

Turner remained at the plate after an unsuccessful challenge initiated by Dodgers manager Don Mattingly that he’d been grazed by a Zimmermann pitch. Earlier in the at-bat, Turner had been granted time as Zimmermann was almost ready to release a pitch that looked like it caught the corner for what would have been the third strike.

Zimmerman is out and Matt Thornton is in. Zimmermann goes 6 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on only four hits, with two walks and eight strikeouts. He tossed 94 pitches, 64 for strikes. Another fairly impressive outing for Zimmermann, just two mistakes in the seventh and the Dodgers lead.

Update III: The Nationals got two men on in the eighth off a pair of walks against Brian Wilson and then Kenley Jansen. With two outs against Jansen, Desmond flew out to center field to end the threat. Heading to the bottrom of the eighth, the Dodgers lead 2-0.

Update IV: LaRoche’s two-run pinch-hit home run off Jansen tied the game in the ninth. Bryce Harper led off with a line single to left and LaRoche, batting for Moore, lofted a fly ball to left that bounced off the top of the padding and into the stands.

Jose Lobaton singled and was replaced by pinch-runner Danny Espinosa., who stole second base and went to thid on a groundout.

With two outs, Denard Span worked Jansen to a full count and then slapped a single down the right field line for a run-scoring base hit, and the Nationals led 3-2.

Update V: With Rafael Soriano pitching, the Dodgers tied the game in the bottom of the ninth. Hanley Ramirez walked with one out. With two away, a long fly ball down the right field line off the bat of Turner was dropped by Jayson Werth, who appeared to at first have a chance at the catch. Ramirez scored and the game was tied at 3-3. Werth was charged with an error on the play. The game heads to extra innings.

Update VI: It took three pitchers to do it, but the Nationals escaped the 10th inning with the 3-3 tie intact. Aaron Barrett got Juan Uribe swinging with the bases loaded for the final out.

Update VII: LaRoche, who didn’t start the game, has four RBIs and the Nats have a 5-3 lead in the 12th. Washington loaded the bases on a walk to Anthony Rendon and singles by Werth and Harper before LaRoche connected for an opposite-field two-run single off Brandon League.

Update VIII: With two down in the 12th, Uribe singled off Tyler Clippard and Carl Crawford followed with a two-run homer over the fence in center. It’s a 5-5 game heading to the 13th.

Update IX: With one out in the 14th, Ian Desmond reached on a throwing error and Harper walked. Desmond went to third on a wild pitch and scored on a fielder’s choice grounder by - who else? - LaRoche, who beat a relay to first on a possible double play ball. With a 6-5 lead, Asdrubal Cabrera slammed a two-run homer to right. It’s 8-5 heading to the bottom of the 14th at Chavez Ravine.

Blake Treinen got through the Dodgers 14th, closing out his second major league win. It’s the Nats’ first series win in L.A. since 2005. At 5 hours, 34 minutes, it’s the longest game in team history.

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