Frustration with the strike zone led to Adam Eaton and manager Dave Martinez getting ejected between the first and second inning and it may have lit a fire under the Washington Nationals as they went on to cruise for an 11-4 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
What was a close game through five innings turned on its head when Walker Buehler walked Gerardo Parra to put two on with one out in the sixth. Buehler shouted home-plate umpire Jeremie Rehak to dispute balls and strikes, and that emotion carried over.
After walking Brian Dozier to load the bases, Buehler allowed an RBI single to Stephen Strasburg. A potential force out at home plate turned into a two-run error when Joc Pederson’s low throw went through Will Smith’s legs and to the backstop.
Pederson endured more trouble when he couldn’t corral a pop-up back of first base, which allowed a fourth run in the inning to score. The seven runs Buehler allowed tied a career high, though only four were earned.
His 5.1 innings pitched marked Buehler’s shortest start since only going five frames against the New York Mets on May 29.
While the Nationals ultimately went on for a win to avoid being swept, they initially faced a deficit despite Strasburg being perfect through four innings. A.J. Pollock’s one-out double in the fifth broke that up, and Matt Beaty’s RBI double gave the Dodgers a lead with two outs.
Strasburg limited the damage and struck out the side in the sixth inning, with protests from Pederson and Justin Turner over called strikes. Strasburg hit Cody Bellinger with a pitch to start the seventh, though nothing came of it.
The two hits and one run were all Strasburg allowed, and he collected nine strikeouts over seven innings of work.
The Dodgers scratched again in the ninth on Corey Seager’s three-run home run off Michael Blazek.