Tom Gordon and Tony Gwynn Sr. had reasons to be proud in today's ninth inning in the first game in Washington DC.
Tony Gwynn Jr. hit the Dodgers' third two-run double of the game, off Drew Storen in the top of the ninth, the key hit in a three-run rally, giving the Dodgers a 7-4 win over the Nationals in the first game of a scheduled doubleheader.
Dee Gordon drove in Gwynn with his fourth hit of the day, a new career high for the red-hot shortstop. Gordon has five multi-hit games in his last seven contests, and 16 hits in 31 at-bats since getting activated from the disabled list.
In the early part of the game, the Dodgers followed their script to a tee. In the top of both the first and third innings, the Dodgers did this:
- Gordon got a hit
- James Loney got a hit, advancing Gordon to third
- Matt Kemp grounded to third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, who threw home to retire Gordon (though Gordon may have been safe the second time)
- Juan Rivera doubled, scoring both Loney and Kemp (the latter with some help from Mike Morse, who badly misread the second occurrence)
Unfortunately for the Dodgers, Chad Billingsley also followed his recent script and pitched terribly. After his last outing Friday in Atlanta, Billingsley told Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times, "I've been trying to find a rhythm and the mechanics of my delivery the past few starts. I'm kind of searching." After today, Billingsley needs to keep looking.
Staked to a 4-0 lead, Billingsley couldn't get out of the third inning, the shortest start of the season by a Dodger. He allowed extra-base hits to the final four batters he faced, including a two-run home run by Jayson Werth to tie the game. In his last eight starts, Billingsley has allowed 33 runs (26 earned runs) in 43 innings, with 25 walks and 28 strikeouts, a 5.44 ERA and a FIP roughly around 5.00.
If there is any sliver of a silver lining, it's that after throwing 241 total pitches in two starts, two early exits have added just 90 (Friday in Atlanta) and 74 pitches (today) to Billingsley's odometer in his last two outings. But that cloud is still there, darker than the clouds in and around Washington D.C. the last few days.
The Dodgers' bullpen following Billingsley was fantastic, allowing no hits in 6 2/3 innings, with three walks and six strikeouts. Mike MacDougal pitched a scoreless eighth inning for the win, and Javy Guerra retired all three batters for his first save of the day.
UPDATE (4 p.m.): The second game has canceled, with no makeup date scheduled. On to San Francisco!
WP - Mike MacDougal (3-1): 1 IP, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
LP - Drew Storen (6-3): 2/3 IP, 3 hits, 3 runs, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
Sv - Javy Guerra (16): 1 IP, 1 strikeout