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Late Close Plays Highlight Dodgers Win

Tony Gwynn Jr. was called out here in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Tony Gwynn Jr. was called out here in the bottom of the eighth inning.

The Dodgers won Friday night over the Nationals, but it was a close one. The Dodgers beat the Nationals 3-2 but Danny Espinosa nearly tied the game with a home run down the right field line in the top of the ninth inning.

"I was thinking they were going to check it. It was so close I couldn't tell," manager Don Mattingly said. But what was Mattingly thinking off the bat?

"I'm thinking, hook!" he said.

That wasn't much different than Andre Ethier, who said, "I was just said 'oh [shoot],', and I was just hoping it would hook, and it did."

Though that ball may have tied the score, it also could have simply made it a 4-3 game, had Tony Gwynn Jr. been called safe at the plate in the bottom of the eighth inning. Gwynn was trying to score on a double by Juan Uribe, and replays showed that he may have. Gwynn said he knew how catcher Jesus Flores was trying to block the plate so he tried to sneak his hand in quickly then pull it back out.

The Dodgers got to the bottom of the eighth inning with a lead because Kershaw was able to fight his command and last eight innings, throwing 113 pitches for his second win of the year.

"I was erratic, and didn't have good fastball command," said Kershaw. "I was able to throw the pitches I needed to. There wasn't anything pretty about it, but I was able to battle through it."

Andre Ethier backed Kershaw with a two-run home run in the first inning, and praised the staff ace.

"He only made one mistake today and pitched well for us all game," Ethier said. "He did a good job of keeping those guys off balance."

Ethier's home run gave him 24 runs batted in on the season, and a one-RBI lead over teammate Matt Kemp on the major league leaderboards, a fact Ethier had some fun with.

"If I keep pace with Kemp I'll be fine. I might not be up with four or five categories like he is, but I can be there in one," Ethier said with a smile.

Some Nationals fans were ribbing Ethier during the game and Ethier said one of them yelled to him, "You stink, Kemp's better." Ethier said he replied, "No duh."

Relief Notes

Manager Don Mattingly said Javy Guerra and his sore right foot was fine, and will be available to pitch on Saturday. Guerra was cleared by the training staff before the game on Friday, but was held out as a precaution. "I would have used him in an emergency if I had to," Mattingly said.

Todd Coffey pitched a 1-2-3 inning, striking out one, in his second rehab game with the Class A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes on Friday night. Coffey is due to come off the disabled list on Sunday.

Up Next

Chad Billingsley on Saturday looks to rebound from his problem start in Houston, but all eyes will be on Bryce Harper, who will be making his major league debut. even Stephen Strasburg, who is starting for the Nationals, is relegated to other news.