Na­tion­als inch closer

Ren­don, Werth put club on cusp of its 1st play­off se­ries win

Baltimore Sun - - ORIOLES & MLB PLAYOFFS - By Beth Har­ris

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.

MARK J. TERRILL/AP

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