Dodgers 3, Nationals 2: Andre Ethier homers in 9th

USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers are 18-5 in their last 23 games, and have beaten the Nationals in three of four meetings in 2013.

Andre Ethier broke a 30-game drought with a ninth inning home run to lift the Dodgers over the Nationals 3-2 in the series opener on Friday night at Nationals Park.

For Ethier, it snapped a drought of 122 plate appearances since his last home run, on June 11. Ethier was productive during that powerless stretch, hitting .327/.402/.402 without a long ball, but perhaps we should have seen this coming.

After his home run Friday night, Ethier is 3-for-3 with two home runs and a double against Nationals closer Rafael Soriano.

The Nationals got their first run in the second inning, thanks in part to a missed call at third by umpire Eric Cooper. Yasiel Puig unleashed a strong throw to nail Bryce Harper at third, admittedly a close call in real time. But Harper, who was tagged before touching third base, scored on a wild pitch for a 1-0 lead.

But Hanley Ramirez, the hottest hitter on the planet, hit a two-run home run in the third to give the Dodgers the lead.

Ricky Nolasco made that stand up into the sixth inning, thanks in part to escaping a bases loaded, no-out jam in the fourth. Washington tied the game with a bloop single to center in the sixth inning by Ian Desmond.

Jose Dominguez and Paco Rodriguez combined to record seven outs, then Ronald Belisario retired the one batter he faced to pick up the win. The plan was for Belisario to remain in the game longer had it remained tied, as he entered on a double-switch which removed Puig from the game, who one inning earlier made an amazing catch in foul territory jumping against the right field wall.

But Ethier made sure that move had no chance to backfire with his ninth inning heroics. In the pre-Puig era, the Dodgers hit two home runs in a game seven times in 55 contests. But since June 3 the Dodgers have 12 multi-homer games in 40 games, including Friday night.

Kenley Jansen retired the Nats in order in the ninth with two strikeouts for his 10th save.

Up next

The Dodgers withstood Stephen Strasburg on Friday night, now look primed to take the series, with Zack Greinke starting Saturday's game. Gio Gonzalez starts for the Nationals in what really is a weekend full of great pitching matchups.

Friday particulars

Home runs: Hanley Ramirez (9), Andre Ethier (6)

WP - Ronald Belisario (4-5): 1 up, 1 down

LP - Rafael Soriano (1-2): 1 IP, 1 hit, 1 run, 1 strikeout

Sv - Kenley Jansen (10): 1 IP, 2 strikeouts

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