Matt den Dekker crushed a fastball from Pedro Baez for a two-run home run in the eighth inning, giving the Nationals a 5-3 win over the Dodgers in the resumption of Friday night's suspended game on Saturday afternoon at Nationals Park in Washington D.C.
With Tyler Moore on first base and two outs in the eighth inning, pitching coach Rick Honeycutt made a trip to the mound, presumably to give Baez info on the pinch-hitter den Dekker, with two career home runs in 263 plate appearances coming into Saturday.
Make it three in 264 PA, as den Dekker hit the first pitch into the seats in right field to break a 3-3 tie.
He lived up to his Twitter handle (@UpperDekker), at least.
Adrian Gonzalez accomplished the rare feat of hitting two home runs in two days, in the same game. His two-run shot to right field in the fourth inning on Friday gave the Dodgers a 2-1 lead. Then, down 3-2 in the sixth inning on Saturday, Gonzalez took Tanner Roark out to left field to tie the game.
Adrian Gonzalez: Hit HR in both segments of suspended game, Dodgers-Nationals 1st to do so since Joe Carter for Blue Jays, May 3-4, 1996— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 18, 2015
Gonzalez has seven home runs in his last 11 games, and 20 on the season, tying Joc Pederson for the team lead. Gonzalez reached 20 home runs this year in the Dodgers' 91st game, the quickest he has reached 20 home runs since 2010 with the Padres, when he hit his 20th homer in San Diego's 90th game.
Gonzalez hit 31 home runs that season.
What a difference a day made for Chin-hui Tsao, who got ready to pitch on Friday then had to wait out a 40-minute light delay. He allowed a double and a home run on Friday night, but was still on the mound when the game was suspended. He started on the mound in the sixth inning when the game resumed and this time, rested and uninterrupted, pitched a 1-2-3 inning with a strikeout.
Both teams got a gift runner in scoring position in the seventh - the Dodgers with Pederson reaching on an error by shortstop Ian Desmond with two outs, then hustling to second base; the Nationals with a one-out pop fly by Yunel Escobar to very shallow right field that Howie Kendrick lost in the sun for a "double." Neither team could cash it in, though the Nationals came closest.
The Nationals in the seventh loaded the bases with two outs against Joel Peralta and J.P. Howell, which brought in Baez to face the right-handed Wilson Ramos. a Baez struck out Ramos on four pitches, meaning 19 of his 22 inherited runners this season have been stranded.
Batters with the bases loaded this season against Baez are 0-for-4 with four strikeouts and a sacrifice fly.
But the bases weren't loaded against den Dekker.
Casey Janssen struck out two in a scoreless eighth inning to earn the win for Washington.
The Dodgers put the tying runs on base to open the ninth inning against closer Drew Storen, but he was able to wiggle out of the jam to close out the game. Pederson hit a ball a couple feet foul down the left field line that was amazingly close to a go-ahead three-run home run (I didn't think it had a chance off the bat; it was that far foul), but then was called out on strikes on a check swing to end the game.
In a few short minutes, the Dodgers and Nationals are back at it again, with Clayton Kershaw and Doug Fister on the mound.
Home runs: Adrian Gonzalez 2 (20); Yunel Escobar (6), Matt den Dekker (2)
WP - Casey Janssen (1-2): 1 IP, 2 strikeouts
LP - Pedro Baez (2-2): 1⅓ IP, 2 hits, 2 runs, 1 strikeout
Sv - Drew Storen (28): 1 IP, 1 hit, 1 walk, 1 strikeout