October 5, 2019 / 5:37 AM / 11 days ago

Strasburg, Scherzer pull Nats even with Dodgers

EditorsNote: adds quotes

October 4, 2019; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw (22) throws against the Washington Nationals during the first inning in game two of the 2019 NLDS playoff baseball series at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES — Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer led the charge on just two days of rest as the Washington Nationals got even in the National League Division Series with a 4-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday.

Strasburg (1-0) gave up one run over six strong innings, and Scherzer struck out all three batters he faced in the eighth as the Nationals leveled the best-of-five series 1-1. Game 3 is scheduled for Sunday in Washington.

Strasburg retired the first 14 batters he faced after pitching three scoreless innings of relief Tuesday in Washington’s NL wild-card victory over the Milwaukee Brewers. Dodgers rookie Will Smith had the first hit, a two-out bloop single to center field in the fifth.

The Nationals jumped on Dodgers veteran Clayton Kershaw for three runs in the first two innings, getting an RBI single from Howie Kendrick in the first, a run-scoring single from Adam Eaton in the second and an RBI double by Anthony Rendon in the second.

“Whenever you face a guy like (Kershaw), the runs are going to be at a premium, so ... for the guys to go out there and give me a little cushion to work with was great,” Strasburg said. “At the same time, you can’t really pitch to the scoreboard. I’ve done that before in the past, and it hasn’t really worked out well for me, so that was just another thing that I learned along the way.”

Although Kershaw (0-1) didn’t give up another run in his six-inning outing, his career postseason ERA rose from 4.32 to 4.33. He is just 9-11 in 31 career postseason appearances (25 starts). The left-hander yielded six hits and one walk while striking out four.

“I think I was able to get out of that first inning with limited damage,” Kershaw said. “It could have gotten bigger, so thankful we got out of that with one. But that’s not what killed us. The second inning tonight was not good. That was what decided the game really.”

The Dodgers got their lone run off Strasburg in the sixth on a Justin Turner sacrifice fly. Strasburg ended that inning when he snagged an A.J. Pollock line drive for the final out with a runner at third base.

Strasburg gave up three hits with no walks and 10 strikeouts while throwing 85 pitches. He now has a 0.64 ERA over five career playoff appearances (28 innings) and has given up one run in nine innings this postseason.

Scherzer threw 14 pitches in his perfect inning after he went five innings against the Brewers on Tuesday.

Washington right-hander Daniel Hudson gave up a leadoff double to Turner in the ninth and then loaded the bases with two outs. He finished off the victory when he struck out Corey Seager in an eight-pitch battle.

The Dodgers pulled within a run at 3-2 in the seventh inning on a Max Muncy home run against left-hander Sean Doolittle. Nationals pinch hitter Asdrubal Cabrera made it 4-2 with an RBI single off right-hander Dustin May in the eighth.

—Field Level Media

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