A playoff-clinching victory will have to wait at least one more day.
Things were set for a storybook conclusion. John Lannan, opening day starter for a 100- and 90-loss Washington Nationals team, was on the mound with an opportunity to clinch the Nats first post-season berth since the relocation in 2005. Despite a thrilling six-run eighth inning Nats rally to tie the game, it just wasn’t to be, as Matt Kemp crushed an 0-2 pitch from Tyler Clippard to the seats at the Red Porch, delivering a 7-6 win for the Los Angeles Dodgers before 26,931 in the nightcap of the traditional single-admission double-header.
Coupled with the Atlanta Braves 3-0 win over the Miami Marlins, the Nats division lead is five games and magic number to clinch the division stays at nine.
The Nats fell behind early in this one, as Lannan was roughed up for six earned runs in 3 2/13 innings. It looked like the story of this game was going to be how Lannan got clobbered and the Nats’ bats were silenced by the much-maligned Dodgers starter Josh Beckett. Already exiled from Boston where he pitched poorly and acted worse, Beckett was masterful most of Wednesday night, facing the minimum number of batters through five innings and just one more through seven. [Read more...]