Backup has their back
Reserve Lobaton’s 3-run homer helps Nats tie series 1-1
WASHINGTON — Little-used, light-hitting Jose Lobaton changed the complexion of the Nationals’ NL Division Series with one big swing.
Getting a rare chance to play because of starting catcher Wilson Ramos’ injury, Lobaton hit a threerun homer to erase an early deficit Sunday. Daniel Murphy drove in two runs, and the bullpen threw 42⁄ scoreless innings, leading the Nationals past the Dodgers 5-2 in a rainpostponed Game 2 to even the series 1-1.
“I’ve got to try to do something for the team,” said Lobaton, who had one hit off a left-hander all season before connecting off Rich Hill with two out in the fourth inning. “Play hard every day, no matter who is in and who is not.”
The Nationals trailed 2-0 when Hill allowed No. 8 hitter Lobaton to put the hosts ahead for good.
“One bad pitch to a guy that I don’t think anybody really thought was going to be that guy to hurt us,” said Josh Reddick, who drove in a run for the Dodgers off Tanner Roark after Corey Seager hit his second home run of the NLDS. “But that’s what happens, and anybody can be the guy in the postseason.”
Lobaton’s blast put the Nats ahead 3-2 against Hill, who went 41⁄ innings. After a walk and two outs, Hill plunked Danny Espinosa for the second time. That mistake proved costly when Lobaton came through.
What made the drive all the more surprising was that it went over the wall in left, where a wind topping The Nationals’ Jose Lobaton follows through on his home run swing after connecting for a three-run shot in Game 2. DODGERS VS. NATIONALS Series tied 1-1 Game 1: Dodgers 4-3 Game 2: Nationals 5-2 Game 3: 4 p.m. Monday Nationals (Gonzalez 11-11) at Dodgers (Maeda 16-10), MLB Game 4: 5 p.m. Tuesday Nationals (TBD) at Dodgers (Urias 5-2), FS1 Game 5: 5 p.m. Thursday* Dodgers at Nationals, FS1 x-if necessary 30 mph was blowing in much of the afternoon.
“When he hit it, there was a bunch of people in the dugout who were, like, cussing because we didn’t think he could get it out,” Nationals left fielder Jayson Werth said. “All kinds of expletives were being thrown around. And then it snuck over for us. That was the game right there.”
Murphy went 3-for-3 with two RBI singles.
Mark Melancon worked around a single in the ninth — the lone hit allowed by five relievers — to earn the save.
“This was pretty much a must-win game for us,” Werth said. “Definitely don’t want to head west down two.”