Nationals inch closer
Rendon, Werth put club on cusp of its 1st playoff series win
LOS ANGELES — Anthony Rendon and Jayson Werth homered, and the Nationals moved within one victory of winning a postseason series for the first time, beating the Dodgers 8-3 on Monday for a 2-1 lead in their best-offive National League Division Series.
Four relievers combined for 42⁄ shutout innings, putting the Nationals in position to wrap up the best-of-five series Tuesday at Dodger Stadium.
“They work quick and they’re not afraid to go after anybody,” Rendon said of the relievers.
Playing 23 hours after the Nationals tied the series at home in a rain-postponed Game 2, Rendon hit a two-run homer during a four-run third that chased Dodgers starter Kenta Maeda. Werth added a solo shot off closer Kenley Jansen in a breakaway fourrun ninth.
“I’m hoping this is our year,” Werth said. “We’re battle-tested, we’re playofftested and we’ve got a good group of guys. We’ve been playing together a long time now, so I feel like this is our opportunity.”
NL East champions for the third time in five years, the Nationals were unable to advance during their two previous trips to the postseason. They lost in the division series to the Cardinals in 2012 and Giants in 2014.
The franchise has won one playoff series — the Montreal Expos beat the Phillies following the strike-shortened 1981 season before losing to the Dodgers in the NL Championship Series. The team Anthony Rendon watches his two-run homer off Dodgers starting pitcher Kenta Maeda in Game 3 on Wednesday. DODGERS VS. NATIONALS Nationals lead 2-1 Game 1: Dodgers 4-3 Game 2: Nationals 5-2 Game 3: Nationals 8-3 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 moved from Montreal to Washington before the 2005 season.
The Dodgers again struggled against left-handed pitching, a problem throughout the season when they had a majorleague-worst .213 average against lefties.
Facing lefty starter Gio Gonzalez, they got three runs and four hits in 41⁄ innings. The only Dodger with proven success against Gonzalez was catcher Carlos Ruiz, and he came through with a tworun, pinch-hit homer in the fifth that cut their deficit to 4-3.
After that, the Dodgers mustered just a pair of singles off a Nationals bull- pen that included lefties Sammy Solis and Oliver Perez and didn’t advance a runner past first base. Solis wound up with the win.