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Nats down Dodgers to clinch playoff berth

Sep 21, 2012 - 5:28 AM Washington, DC (Sports Network) - The long and agonizing wait is over.

For the first time since Andre Dawson was shagging fly balls in Montreal, the Washington Nationals' franchise is heading back to the postseason.

Ross Detwiler tossed six solid innings, while Ryan Zimmerman and Danny Espinosa ripped RBI doubles in Washington's 4-1 triumph over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the rubber match of a three-game set.

Drew Storen struck out the side in the ninth to notch his third save of the season and the franchise's first postseason appearance since 1981.

During the lockout-shortened 1981 season, Montreal defeated the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League Division Series before falling to the Dodgers in the National League Championship Series.

It's the first time in 79 years that a DC team has made the postseason, when the 1933 Washington Senators fell to the New York Giants in the World Series.

"This is definitely a meaningful moment," Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth said of the momentous win. "We'll celebrate tonight and go back to work tomorrow."

Detwiler (10-6) fanned five and surrendered a run on three hits for Washington, which had lost four of its past five games coming in.

Chris Capuano (11-11) allowed four runs -- three earned -- on six hits and a walk for the Dodgers, who have dropped three of their last four contests and sit three games behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the NL's second wild-card spot.

"We're going in the wrong direction," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.

The Nationals opened the scoring with a pair of runs in the third.

Werth led off the third with a single and Bryce Harper reached on a fielder's choice. Harper scored when Zimmerman hit a double into the left-center field gap. Zimmerman moved to third on Adam LaRoche's groundout and scored on a Capuano wild pitch.

Detwiler retired the first nine Dodgers in order before Mark Ellis began the fourth with a blast into the Los Angeles bullpen in left field, but Washington tacked on two more runs in the home half to make it a 4-1 game.

After Ian Desmond walked to start the frame, Espinosa pulled a double down the third-base line, which plated Desmond. Espinosa, who scampered to third on Hanley Ramirez's throwing error home, scored when Kurt Suzuki lifted a sacrifice fly to right field.

Game Notes

The Dodgers tallied just four hits and were 0-for-1 with runners in scoring position, while Washington finished 0-for-7 with RISP ... The 1981 Expos finished the regular season 60-48, while the 1933 Senators were 99-53.


    Sep 20 10:02 PM

  • Kurt Suzuki sacrifice fly out to right scored Danny Espinosa with one out. None on and Ross Detwiler due up.

    Dodgers 1, Nationals 4  Bot 4, 1 OutSep 20 8:23 PM

  • Danny Espinosa doubled to left scored Ian Desmond with none out, advances to third on Hanley Ramirez's throwing error. Runner on third and Kurt Suzuki due up.

    Dodgers 1, Nationals 3  Bot 4, 0 OutsSep 20 8:19 PM

  • Mark Ellis lead-off Home Run (7) to left center. Shane Victorino due up.

    Dodgers 1, Nationals 2  Top 4, 0 OutsSep 20 8:05 PM

  • With Michael Morse batting, wild pitch by Chris Capuano, Ryan Zimmerman scores with two outs.

    Dodgers 0, Nationals 2  Bot 3, 2 OutsSep 20 8:02 PM

  • Ryan Zimmerman doubled to center scored Bryce Harper with one out. Runner on second and Adam LaRoche due up.

    Dodgers 0, Nationals 1  Bot 3, 1 OutSep 20 7:57 PM
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    Dodgers 0, Nationals 0  Top 3, 1 OutSep 20 7:43 PM

    Top 1, 0 Outs

    Sep 20 7:07 PM
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    Dodgers vs. NationalsSep 17 3:15 PM
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    Dodgers vs. NationalsDec 20 6:03 AM