Carlos Monasterios ... first Major League win
The Dodgers tiptoed barefooted along the naked edge of a razor blade for four hours and 20 minutes before they miraculously pulled out a 4-3 win in 13 innings on an RBI single in the final inning and the young but talented arm of rookie Carlos Monasterios, snapping a two-game losing streak in the bargain.
Washington left runners in scoring position in each of the first nine innings and also in the bottom of the 13th before rookie Xavier Paul caught a short fly ball with runners at first and third for the final out of the game to give Monasterios his first Major League victory.
Washington left 15 men on base and went 1-for-15 with runners in scoring position. Los Angeles, on the other hand, left six and was 1-for-5 RISP.
The Dodgers used seven pitchers in an attempt to stop a 14-hit avalanche of hits by the Nationals. Clayton Kershaw started and allowed eight hits and a pair of runs, leaving the game with a 3-2 lead. Hong-Chih Kuo, Ronald Belisario, Ramon Troncoso, Jonathan Broxton, George Sherrill and Monasterios paraded in and struggled, successfully for the most part, en rout to the win.
Los Angeles had 11 hits, two of them home runs by Casey Blake who had the only runs batted in over the first 13 innings. He erased a 1-0 Washington lead with a two-run shot in the second, then broke a 2-2 tie with his solo shot in the seventh.
Blake added a single in the ninth and finished the afternoon/evening with three hits. Furcal, Kemp and Loney each added a pair.
For the second game in succession, the Nats got a first inning run thanks to a triple. Ian Desmond rapped a shot over Kemp's head in center with one out and scored on a ground ball.
Loney lined a single to right and Blake, who had yesterday off because manager Joe Torre said he looked "sluggish" looked anything but when he boomed a drive to dead center for a 2-1 L.A. lead.
Kershaw worked out of a first and third mess in the second and a bases-loaded problem in the third. He allowed doubles in each the fourth and fifth innings.
Then things came apart for him in the sixth and Washington should have tied the game or gone into the lead except for a pair of mental errors. With two our Alberto Gonzalez doubled and scored when pitcher Craig Stammen singled to center.
Then Nyjer Morgan, who has been a thorn in the Dodgers' side in each of the first two games, doubled to left field and it looked like Stammen was obviously going to score from first base to tie the game. Left fielder Xavier Paul fired the ball to Furcal and he threw Morgan out at third trying to stretch the hit into a triple.
When the tag was made at third, Stammen was leisurely trotting into home plate and the tying run was nullified and remained 2-2.
Blake rapped a shot into the left field seats in the seventh to give the Dodgers a one-run lead and Kershaw a chance for a win.
Hong-Chih Kuo took over in the last of the inning and surrendered a double to Desmond. Chris Guzman bounced to Furcal at short and he was ready to gun Desmond down at third but he fumbled the ball. Kuo struck out Adam Dunn, who had singled and doubled in his two previous trips to the plate and then gave the ball to Ronald Belisaro with runners at first and third.
Blake threw Desmond out at the plate on Josh Willingham's ground ball and Blake DeWitt ended the threat by throwing Justin Maxwell out at first.
Loney and Blake singled in the eighth with two out Paul's long drive to left was caught on the warning track.
Ramon Troncoso came in to pitch the bottom of the eighth and with one out, Gonzalez singled and was forced at second by pinch-hitter Adam Kennedy. Kennedy broke for second and Martin's throw bounced into center field, Kennedy stopping at third.
Jonathan Broxton took over and blew the save. Morgan singled to tie the game and stole second but was stranded there. Willingham singled and moved to second on a wild pitch in the ninth but he, too, was left on the base.
George Sherrill worked a scoreless 10th and took care of the first man in the 11th before rookie Carlos Monasterios, the last man standing in the bullpen since Torre said he would not use Ramon Ortiz after he had pitched 2.2 innings in the first game of the series, took over. He retired the side in the 11th and worked around a walk in the 12th.
Eleven of the last 12 Dodgers went down in order but with two-out in the 13th, Furcal singled and stole second. Martin then ripped a single to center to drive in the Dodgers fourth run.
The excitement wasn't quite over, as you might imagine.
Pudge Rodriguez slapped a pinch-hit single in the bottom of the 13th and Morgan (him again) doubled, Rodriguez stopping at third. Desmond bounced to Blake at third and he threw Pudge out at the plate on a close play. Then Chris Guzman popped a lazy fly to left that Paul squeezed for the final out and a win.
It was a remarkable game but only 18,039 fans were on hand to watch it. Washington attendance for the first two games of the series has been just over 30,000 -- total.
Probable Starters for today's (Sunday) game will be RHP Chad Billingsley (1-0, 7.07) vs. LHP Scott Olsen (0-1, 11.74).
Monday in New York it will be RHP Hiroki Kuroda (2-0, 2.18) vs. LHP Oliver Perez (0-2, 3.71)
Tuesday RHP Vicente Padilla (1-1, 7.06) vs. LHP Johan Santana (2-1, 2.59)
Wednesday RHP Charlie Haeger (0-2, 6.46) vs. RHP Jon Maine (0-1, 8.64).
Ramirez Returned to Los Angeles
The Dodgers sent Manny Ramirez home to Los Angeles to get treatment on his strained right calf, avoiding the "circus", as Torre called it, when the team heads to New York to face the Mets. The Dodgers will take the train to New York to open a three-game series Monday.
Dodger Blue Notes --Despite the win, the Dodgers have lost 10 of their last 17 games in the District of Columbia. ...Xavier Paul, who replaced Ramirez on the roster, started the game in left field. Paul arrived in Washington at 11:22 p.m. Friday night. Thunderstorms across the south had delayed Paul’s arrival from New Orleans, where the Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes were playing. ...Los Angeles has grounded into just nine double plays, which is the fewest in the Major Leagues. ...Nationals’ Manager Jim Riggleman and his bullpen coach, Jim Lett, both spent the early part of the century with the Dodgers. Riggleman was former skipper Jim Tracy’s bench coach from 2001-04. Lett was the Dodger bullpen coach from 2001-04 and then took over for Riggleman as the bench coach in 2005. Lett then followed Tracy to Pittsburgh as the Pirates’ bench coach from 2006-07, before landing in Washington this season. ...On this day in 1962, Dodger left-hander Sandy Koufax tied his own club record by fanning 18 Cubs in a 10-2 victory at Wrigley Field. Koufax had previously struck out 18 on Aug. 31, 1959 vs. San Francisco at the Coliseum. Today’s starter, Clayton Kershaw, struck out a career-high 13 batters on April 15, 2009 at Dodger Stadium.