Game #40 Recap: Nats Fall Short

In the rubber match against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Nationals saw their starting pitcher and catcher exit early and their bats never arrive, losing 3-1.

Ross Detwiler seemed off all night and left after only three innings with an apparent injury. His battery mate, Wilson Ramos, also exited in the fourth with an injury, after hitting a single. After the game it was announced that Detwiler left with back spasms, but they are not severe. Ramos left the game with a pulled hamstring, for a second time this season. and is expected to miss time. 

In game action, the Dodgers jumped out to an early lead in the first inning. With two outs, Matt Kemp hit a ground rule double to right field and Adrian Gonzalez knocked him on a single to take a 1-0 lead.

The Dodgers scored again in the second inning. The inning started with a single by Andre Ethier and then a walk. A double play made it a man on third with two outs. But the Dodgers were able to cash in, on starting pitcher Zach Greinke's single.

The Nationals offense failed to get much going against Greinke, in his first start since injuring his collarbone in a mound altercation with the San Diego Padres' Carlos Quentin.  Greinke went 5.1` innings. giving up five hits while striking out four and walking none. The only run he allowed came on an Adam LaRoche home run. LaRoche's home run, his fourth of the year, extended his hitting streak to 12 games. 

Craig Stammen pitched three scoreless innings in relief of Detwiler to keep the Nationals in the game, but the Nats offense could not find the success the Dodgers had in clutch situations.

In the top of the eighth inning the Nationals had runners on the corners with no outs after a Ryan Zimmerman single. With pinch runner Eury Perez, the fastest man on the team at third, the Nationals were in prime position to score.

However, LaRoche hit a short pop up, Ian Desmond struck out and Kurt Suzuki flied out to waste the opportunity.

The Dodgers got an insurance run in the bottom of the inning, as they loaded the bases against Drew Storen. Carl Crawford hit a sacrifice fly to make the game 3-1. 

The Nationals threatened again in the ninth inning, as Danny Espinosa led off the inning with a single.  Roger Bernadina grounded out to advance Espinosa to second, bringing up Bryce Harper as a pinch hitter, his first appearance since running into the right field wall on Monday. Harper, sporting a large bandage on his chin, was no help though, grounding out. Denard Span proceeded to ground out as well to end the game.

The Nationals will look to get back on track as they continue their west coast swing with a four game set in San Diego. The first game of the series is tomorrow and features Stephen Strasburg going up against Edison Volquez..

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