NLDS Game 2: Nationals Capitalize On Rich Hill’s Hanger, Dodgers’ Missed Opportunities
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers and Washington Nationals were forced to wait an extra day to play Game 2 of their National League Division Series matchup because of expected rain that never came, and the start was reminiscent of Game 1.

Tanner Roark needed one pitch to retire Chase Utley. Roark’s second pitch of the game forced Corey Seager to duck out of the way to avoid being hit on the head. Three pitches later, on a 3-0 count, Seager lined a solo home run out to center field.

He joined Davey Lopes (1978 NL Championship Series) and Manny Ramirez (2008 NLDS) as Dodgers to homer in the first two games of a postseason series.

In addition, Seager became first Dodgers player with home runs in back-to-back postseason games since Juan Uribe and Carl Crawford both homered in Games 3 and 4 of the 2013 NLDS.

Just as Clayton Kershaw did on Friday, Rich Hill struck out the side in the first inning, flipping over one curveball after another. Joc Pederson’s one-out single in the second was his first hit in nine career postseason at-bats.

Yasmani Grandal worked a walk, and Andrew Toles was grazed by a pitch to load the bases. While he was fighting command issues, Roark caught a break in facing Hill, who struck out on three pitches.

Utley tried to sell his was hit on the wrist by an 0-1 pitch, though to no avail, and the Dodgers elected not to challenge. He wound up grounding out to leave the bases full. Daniel Murphy lined the first pitch he saw into center field for a leadoff single in the bottom of the second.

Ryan Zimmerman walked and Danny Espinosa was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Jose Lobaton hit softly back to the mound and Hill managed to recover after knocking the ball down for the start of a 1-2-3 inning-ending double play.

After Roark walked Justin Turner with one out in the third, Adrian Gonzalez flared a single into left field. The Dodgers tested Bryce Harper’s arm on Josh Reddick’s base hit to right, and were successful as Turner used a crafty slide to avoid the tag.

Pederson was intentionally walked to load the bases, which was followed by Grandal grounding into a double play. Trea Turner singled with one out in the bottom of the third but was unable to wreak havoc on the bases.

Hill did a masterful job of keeping Turner guessing, and proceeded to strike out Harper and Jayson Werth to end the inning. Hill reached on a drag bunt with one out in the fourth and got to second base before being stranded.

With Murphy on first base after drawing a leadoff walk, Hill hit Espinosa with two outs for the second time. Lobaton made Hill pay as he followed crushed a hanging curveball for a three-run homer to give the Nationals a 3-2 lead.

Singles from Justin Turner and Reddick knocked Roark out of the game with one out in the fifth. Marc Rzepczynski entered to face Pederson, but instead drew pinch-hitter Yasiel Puig. He laid off pitches outside and one in the dirt to get to a full count, and walked to load the bases.

Grandal struck out on three pitches, and pinch-hitter Howie Kendrick lined out to left. It was the third time on the afternoon the Dodgers left the bases loaded, and they stranded nine baserunners to that point.

Trea Turner led off the bottom of the fifth with a single and this time managed to steal second base with relative ease. One pitch after fouling off a sacrifice bunt attempt, Harper lined a base hit into left field.

Hill retired Werth, but allowed an RBI single to Murphy. Pedro Baez inherited runners on the corners and caught a break as Anthony Rendon flied out to shallow left field and Harper was thrown out at the plate on his attempt to tag.

Rzepczynski walked a pair in the sixth and gave way to Sammy Solis with two outs. He needed all of two pitches to retire Gonzalez. Grant Dayton gave up a two-out double to Werth in the seventh, followed by an RBI single to Murphy.

The run was the first allowed by either bullpen in the NLDS over 12-plus innings pitched. Blake Treinen and Oliver Perez combined to throw a scoreless eighth inning. Mark Melancon worked around a Turner one-out single to convert the save in the Nationals’ 5-2 win.

Their bullpen combining to hold the Dodgers to one hit over the final 4.2 innings.