Dodgers, Nats tan­gle in Game 4 of NLDS

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Beth Har­ris

LOS AN­GE­LES >> Chase Utley sin­gled home the tiebreak­ing run with two outs in the eighth in­ning after the Dodgers’ bullpen fal­tered in re­lief of Clay­ton Ker­shaw, and Los An­ge­les avoided elim­i­na­tion Tues­day with a 6-5 vic­tory over the Wash­ing­ton Na­tion­als that forced a de­cid­ing Game 5 in their NL play­off.

Ken­ley Jansen worked the ninth for a save one day after giv­ing up four late runs in a Game 3 loss, pre­vent­ing the Na­tion­als from clinch­ing a post­sea­son se­ries for the first time.

Game 5 is Thurs­day in Wash­ing­ton, with 20-game win­ner Max Scherzer ex­pected to pitch for the Na­tion­als. Dodgers man­ager Dave Roberts said he will use left-han­der Rich Hill and rookie Julio Urias, but did not an­nounce which one will start.

Adrian Gon­za­lez hit a two-run homer for the Dodgers, who turned to Ker­shaw on three days’ rest to sal­vage their sea­son.

The score was tied 5-all with two outs in the eighth when An­drew Toles got hit by a pitch from Blake Treinen. Pinch-hit­ter An­dre Ethier fol­lowed with a sin­gle to left and Utley sin­gled to right, scor­ing Toles from sec­ond for a 6-5 lead.

Trail­ing 5-2 in the sev­enth, the Nats had run­ners on first and sec­ond against Ker­shaw with two outs. The crowd chanted Ker­shaw’s name be­fore Bryce Harper drew an eight-pitch walk to load the bases and chase Ker­shaw, who walked off with his head down. He sat alone in the dugout with his head rest­ing on his right hand.

That’s when the bullpen nearly gave the game away.

Pe­dro Baez came in and hit Jayson Werth with his only pitch, forc­ing in a run to make it 5-3. Baez got booed off the field.

Daniel Mur­phy’s sin­gle off Luis Avi­lan dropped be­tween Toles and Joc Ped­er­son in left-cen­ter field, scor­ing two runs to tie it at 5. Avi­lan also heard boos.

Joe Blan­ton, who earned the win, re­tired An­thony Ren­don on a swing­ing strike­out to end the in­ning.

Des­per­ate to avoid an­other early play­off exit, the Dodgers turned to Ker­shaw, their three-time NL Cy Young Award win­ner who won Game 1 last Fri­day de­spite go­ing just five in­nings and al­low­ing three runs.

This time, he was charged with five runs and seven hits in 6 2/3 in­nings. He struck out 11 — equal­ing his sec­ondbest post­sea­son to­tal — and walked two.

The left-han­der was lim­ited to 149 in­nings while com­pil­ing a 1.69 ERA dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son. He missed 2 ½ months with a mildly her­ni­ated disk in his back.

Ker­shaw opened the game by giv­ing up a lead­off sin­gle and a walk be­fore Mur­phy’s RBI sin­gle.

The Dodgers took a 2-1 lead in the bot­tom of the in­ning on Gon­za­lez’s tworun shot that scored Justin Turner, who was hit by a pitch from Joe Ross.

Werth’s RBI sin­gle tied it 2-all in the third.

Los An­ge­les again an­swered in the bot­tom of the in­ning, with Ker­shaw get­ting the rally go­ing with a dou­ble to left field. He slid into sec­ond and clenched his fists in a rare show of emo­tion.

Ker­shaw scored on Turner’s sin­gle with two outs. Ped­er­son got hit by a pitch from Ross with the bases loaded, forc­ing in Turner

Ross made his post­sea­son de­but for the Na­tion­als, giv­ing up four runs and three hits in 2 2/3 in­nings. The 23-year-old right-han­der struck out three and walked two. He hasn’t pitched more than four in­nings since com­ing off the dis­abled list on Sept. 18.

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