Grandal's 3-run homer lifts Dodgers over Nationals 3-2
LOS ANGELES (AP) Yasmani Grandal let his emotions loose rounding the bases after his go-ahead three-run homer in the eighth inning. After hitting the ball hard for most of June, he finally had something to show for it.
Grandal lifted the Los Angeles Dodgers to a come-from-behind 3-2 victory over the Washington Nationals on Tuesday night, extending their season-high winning streak to five games. They have won seven of eight and go for the series sweep against the NL East leaders on Wednesday.
''We play a lot of close ballgames,'' Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. ''We were coming up short on a lot of those early and now we're starting to win some.''
Grandal gave the Dodgers at least one homer in 12 consecutive games for the first time since May 23-June 4, 2002.
''I have been hitting the ball pretty hard the last couple weeks. I just haven't been able to get it in the air,'' he said. ''This game is about inches. I'm just trying to hit the ball hard. Obviously, they're going to start falling at some point.''
Los Angeles trailed 2-0 when Grandal sent a 1-2 pitch from Tanner Roark into center field, scoring Joc Pederson, who drew a leadoff walk, and Yasiel Puig, whose base hit went off the glove of leaping shortstop Danny Espinosa.
Grandal also had the winning RBI on Sunday, when he walked with the bases loaded in the ninth as a pinch-hitter.
''This big hit might make him a little bit more confident out there,'' Dodgers starter Scott Kazmir said of Grandal. ''We know what he's capable of.''
Roark used sinking pitches away to retire Grandal on groundouts in his first two at-bats.
''As a catcher, you kind of admire that,'' Grandal said.
The Nationals lost their season-high-tying fourth straight despite solo homers from Bryce Harper and Espinosa. Roark (6-5) had limited the Dodgers to four hits while equaling his longest outing of the season before serving up Grandal's blast.
Roark gave up three runs and six hits in 7 1/3 innings, struck out five and walked one. The right-hander had won his last three decisions. He notched the first multihit game of his career, with a double in the fifth and a single in the eighth.
''I tried to make a pitch inside to Grandal to get a double play and just left it out over the middle,'' Roark said. ''If you make mistakes, they hit them far. I felt strong throughout the game. Usually, it boils down to one or two pitches.''
Louis Coleman (1-1) got the win with one inning of relief. He allowed two hits, struck out one and walked one.
Kenley Jansen pitched a perfect ninth to earn his 21st save in 24 chances a night after surpassing Eric Gagne as the Dodgers' career saves leader with 162. Jansen got Harper on a groundout to end the game.
Harper hit his 15th homer with two outs in the first inning, giving Washington a 1-0 lead. Facing an 0-2 count, Espinosa homered leading off the fifth to make it 2-0, extending the Nationals' NL home run lead to 98.
Kazmir gave up two runs and eight hits in six innings, struck out four and walked one.
Puig came off the disabled list earlier Tuesday and started in right field. He was 1 for 3 in his first major league game since June 2.
Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg, who missed his start a day earlier, received treatment Tuesday for an upper back strain. Baker wasn't sure whether Strasburg would make his next scheduled start on Sunday.
Dodgers: LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (left shoulder surgery) is set to make his next rehab start on Thursday with Triple-A Oklahoma City and is expected to throw five innings. ... RHP Brandon McCarthy (Tommy John surgery) is expected to throw four innings for Oklahoma City on Wednesday. ... RHP Carlos Frias was optioned to Triple-A when Puig came off the DL.
Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully missed the game because of a sore throat. The team said the 88-year-old was resting at home. Scully always works alone, but needed two replacements on the telecast: Charley Steiner and Orel Hershiser. Scully is set to retire at season's end after a record 67 years calling games for the same franchise.
FROM SAVING TO STARTING
Nationals RHP Yusmeiro Petit was the first pitcher in the majors this season to save a game and start a game in a four-day span. He was a late substitute for Strasburg on Monday, tossing 94 pitches over six innings while holding the Dodgers to three earned runs, five hits and a walk.
''Even though we lost the game, sometimes bullpen preservation is the key,'' Baker said. ''To a man, everyone appreciated what he did yesterday.''
Nationals: RHP Joe Ross (6-4, 3.13 ERA) starts the series finale in a matchup of youngsters. The 23-year-old Ross is four years older than Dodgers starter Julio Urias.
Dodgers: LHP Julio Urias (0-2, 4.50) will get at least one more start while the team remains mindful of his innings pitched. He struck out a career-high eight in his last start June 17 against Milwaukee.