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Dodgers lose lead late, drop second straight to Nats

Despite holding an 8th inning lead, the Dodgers fall to the Nationals after bullpen gives up six runs over the final two innings

MLB: Washington Nationals at Los Angeles Dodgers Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Baseball is a funny game. After winning 19 of 21 and completing a four game sweep of the Giants, the Dodgers have dropped consecutive games to the worst team in baseball, losing tonight’s game by a score of 8-3.

The bats never got going in this one. Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger hit solo home runs, but outside of that, the Dodgers only managed four more hits against a Nationals pitching staff that has the second worst ERA in baseball. Through the first two games of this series, the boys in blue are 1-17 with runners in scoring position.

The Dodgers found themselves behind before they had a chance to put runs on the board. Victor Robles and Cesar Hernandez led off the game with back to back singles off Mitch White and later came around to score. Before some fans were even in their seats, the Dodgers trailed 2-0.

After his rocky first inning, Mitch White settled in beautifully. Despite allowing at least one hit in each inning he threw, White did not give up a run over the next five innings and left the game with a 2-1 lead, in position to record his second victory of the season. White delivered the longest start of his career, throwing six complete innings. The longest appearance of his career is 7.2 innings versus Pittsburgh in August of last year, but that came in relief of Justin Bruhil.

In the top of the 5th, Mookie showed why he is considered one of the top all around players in baseball. After Luis García very wisely decided not to test Betts’ arm on a fairly decent fly ball in the fourth, Victor Robles had other plans. With two outs and the Nats still ahead 2-1, Robles attempted to score from second base on a Josh Bell single. As many Dodger fans have come to expect, Betts nailed Robles at the plate to end the inning. As Eric tweeted right after it happened, “Even when everyone knows it’s coming, it’s amazing to watch”. Betts’ outfield assist was tracked at 95.1 miles per hour, his second fastest outfield assist in the Statcast era.

Bellinger led off the bottom half of the inning with his thirteenth homer of the year, tying the game at 2-2; a massive two run swing in a span of five minutes. With runners on the corners later in the inning, Freddie Freeman drove a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Trayce Thompson and giving the Dodgers their first lead of the game.

After Yency Almonte threw a scoreless seventh, good for his ninth consecutive scoreless outing, Dave Roberts wasted no time getting newly activated Garrett Cleavinger back on the bump. After Gavin Lux made a throwing error to begin the eighth inning, Cleavinger bounced right back and struck out the next two hitters, seemingly finding his groove. With two strikes and two outs in the inning, Nationals second baseman Luis García smacked a hanging slider into the right field pavilion to give Washington a 4-3 lead. Not ideal.

The Dodgers squandered an opportunity to tie the game in the 8th, and Roberts sent Cleavinger back out for the ninth which went incredibly poorly. Washington added four runs, three of which came with two outs and that was all she wrote.

Tuesday’s particulars

Home runs: Mookie Betts (23), Cody Bellinger (13); Luis García (3)

WP — Erasmo Ramirez (2-1): 0.2 IP, 0 walk, 0 strikeouts, 0 runs

LP — Garrett Cleavinger (0-1): 1.2 IP, 4 hits, 4 runs, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts

Up next

The Dodgers will look to avoid the three game sweep tomorrow afternoon. Andrew Heaney will make his return from the injured list and make the start. It’s Wednesday, which means it’s getaway day. First pitch is scheduled for 12:10 pm at Dodger Stadium. Patrick Corbin will take the mound for Washington.