Hyun-Jin Ryu provided the Los Angeles Dodgers with needed length by going seven innings, but he was on the wrong end against the Washington Nationals in a rematch of the 2016 National League Division Series.
Ryu ended a 1-2-3 first inning by striking out Bryce Harper on a 94 mph elevated fastball, then struck out the first two batters faced in the second inning. He had Anthony Rendon down to his last strike but surrendered a solo home run.
Rendon kept the fourth inning alive by driving a double to the right-center field gap. While Ryu and the Dodgers briefly caught a break as the double was of the ground-rule variety, Matt Wieters followed with a two-run base hit.
Bryce Harper’s two-out RBI single in the fifth inning tacked on the Nationals’ fourth and final run against Ryu. It was the first time he completed seven innings since Aug. 31, 2014. For Harper, the base hit snapped an 0-for-15 skid.
Washington lefty Gio Gonzalez largely breezed through five innings before encountering some trouble. Gonzalez had five strikeouts, scattered two hits, issued one walk, and retired 11 in a row through five shutout innings.
He issued a leadoff walk to Logan Forsythe in the sixth, then was in a bit of a jam when Corey Seager’s base hit put runners at the corners. Chris Taylor ripped an RBI double to left field, and Franklin Gutierrez’s RBI groundout trimmed the Nationals’ lead to 4-2 before Gonzalez could get out of the inning.
The Nationals bullpen entered play with an MLB-worst 5.15 ERA. Enny Romero was first to appear, and he tossed two scoreless innings despite walking Yasiel Puig on four pitches to start the seventh and allowing a leadoff double to Seager in the eighth. He finished 3-for-4 with two singles and the one extra-base hit.
Matt Albers recorded two outs in the ninth before allowing a pinch-hit double to Cody Bellinger. That prompted Nationals manager Dusty Baker to call on Oliver Perez, who retired Yasmani Grandal to close out the Nationals’ 4-2 victory.
The Dodgers fell to 0-for-their-last-19 with runners in scoring position, which is an MLB worst.