for this game

Rally in ninth helps Nationals avoid 100th loss

Sep 24, 2009 - 4:13 AM WASHINGTON(AP) -- Showing some late-inning life, the Washington Nationals prevented the possibility of a Los Angeles Dodgers' celebration and put off a dubious achievement of their own.

Andre Ethier booted pinch-hitter Pete Orr's fly to right field in the ninth inning, allowing Justin Maxwell to easily score, and the Nationals averted their 100th loss of the season with a 5-4 victory over the Dodgers on Wednesday night.

"It was bizarre, but at the same time, you've got to win those games," Orr said. "Those are the games that if that slips away from us and we don't win right there, it's a pretty big downer."

Maxwell started the decisive rally with a single down the left-field line off James McDonald (5-5) to open the ninth. Alberto Gonzalez bunted Maxwell to second and Maxwell stole third on a curveball before Jorge Padilla walked.

Nationals interim manager Jim Riggleman said Maxwell had the green light. Maxwell wanted to catch the Dodgers off-guard.

"I thought it was a good time to go," Maxwell said. "I figured (McDonald) wasn't really worried about me after us moving the runner on the bunt."

Orr, who was 2 for 13 as a pinch hitter, hit a fly to medium right and the ball bounced off Ethier's glove as he backtracked, scoring Maxwell. Orr was credited with a sacrifice fly and Ethier was given an error on the play.

The Dodgers' magic number to clinch a spot in the postseason remained at two, but its magic number to clinch the NL West title for a second straight season, a feat last accomplished in 1977-78, dropped to six with Colorado's 6-3 loss to San Diego.

"Just because they're however many games out don't mean they're just going to roll over and let everybody come in and stomp them," said Dodgers second baseman Orlando Hudson, who left the game with a jammed left wrist after reaching on an error to open the ninth.

The Nationals, who lost a major league-high 102 games last year, temporarily avoided reaching triple figures in losses for a second straight year.

"Are we at 99?" asked Washington third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, who reached 100 RBIs for the second time in his career. "We just try and win every game. I think we made some strides in the second half. The young guys that have come up in September have looked pretty good and I think that's more important than anything. All of are obviously disappointed in this season, but we're excited about what we have coming in the future."

Saul Rivera (1-3) got two outs for the victory after the Dodgers had tied it 4-all against Mike MacDougal.

Dodgers right-hander Chad Billingsley had a no-hitter for 5 2-3 innings before Zimmerman hit a tying three-run homer, his 31st. Billingsley, who retired the first 14 Nationals before consecutive walks to Adam Dunn and Zimmerman in the fourth, allowed three runs on one hit over six innings, walked four and struck out nine.

"Just that one pitch, if you take away that one pitch, it's a gem," Dodgers catcher Russell Martin. "You give up one hit, you make one mistake and pay a price for it."

Ethier had an RBI grounder and Martin a bases-loaded single in the first to make it 2-0 and James Loney's RBI single in the sixth chased Nationals starter Ross Detwiler.

Detwiler allowed three runs on six hits, walked three and struck out none.

The Nationals finally got to Billingsley in the sixth. With two down and Cristian Guzman on first after a fielder's choice, Dunn drew a walk and Zimmerman blasted Billingsley's up-and-in, first-pitch curveball into the Dodgers bullpen in left-center.

Guzman gave the Nationals a 4-3 lead in the eighth, racing home from second base when Orlando Hudson's throw on a potential inning-ending double play by Dukes pulled first baseman Loney off the bag. Guzman kept running, sliding home ahead of Loney's late throw.

But Guzman's two errors in the ninth allowed Los Angeles to tie it.

The Dodgers loaded the bases off MacDougal on Guzman's first error, a pinch-hit single by Jim Thome and a walk to Furcal. Belliard hit a high chopper to short, but Guzman, who was playing in, threw offline, pulling catcher Josh Bard off the plate and pinch-runner Jason Repko scored to tie it.

NOTES: Hudson tripped over Dunn's leg at first and went sprawling, hurting his wrist when he broke his fall. His last two seasons have been shortened by left wrist surgery. ... 3B Casey Blake was held out of the Dodgers lineup Wednesday with a left leg injury. ... When LHP Clayton Kershaw starts Sunday at Pittsburgh, he'll be on a to-be-determined pitch count, Los Angeles manager Joe Torre said. ... Dukes has a team-high 12 outfield assists.








  • Nationals 5, Dodgers 4 - FINAL
    LA DODGERS ab r h rbi bb so lob avg
    R Furcal ss 4 1 2 0 1 0 1 .264
    R Belliard 3b 4 2 2 0 1 0 0 .268
    A Ethier rf 4 0 0 1 1 1 6 .279
    M Ramirez lf 4 0 0 0 1 0 3 .298
    M Kemp cf 4 0 0 0 1 1 5 .304
    J Loney 1b 3 0 2 1 1 0 0 .288
    R Mar

    Sep 23 10:07 PM


  • NL
    AT WASHINGTON - SCORING UPDATE
    ERROR BY ANDRE ETHIER ALLOWED JUSTIN MAXWELL TO SCORE.
    FINAL SCORE - WASHINGTON 5, LA DODGERS 4.

    Dodgers 4, Nationals 5  Bot 9, 0 OutsSep 23 10:06 PM


  • NL
    AT WASHINGTON - SCORING UPDATE
    ERROR BY CRISTIAN GUZMAN ALLOWED JASON REPKO TO SCORE.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, R BELLIARD ON FIRST, R FURCAL ON SECOND, J
    CASTRO ON THIRD, 0 OUTS
    CURRENT SCORE: LA DODGERS 4
    WASHINGTON 4 TOP,9TH
    DUE UP FOR LA DODGERS: A ETHIER (.280, 0-FOR-3, BB, RBI)

    Dodgers 4, Nationals 4  Top 9, 0 OutsSep 23 9:45 PM
  • 127
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 37 roots (Close Finish)

    Dodgers 4, Nationals 4  Top 9, 0 OutsSep 23 9:45 PM


  • NL
    AT WASHINGTON - SCORING UPDATE
    FORCE OUT BY ELIJAH DUKES SCORED CRISTIAN GUZMAN
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, E DUKES ON FIRST, 2 OUTS
    CURRENT SCORE: LA DODGERS 3
    WASHINGTON 4 BOTTOM,8TH
    DUE UP FOR WASHINGTON: J BARD (.231, 0-FOR-3)

    Dodgers 3, Nationals 4  Bot 8, 0 OutsSep 23 9:31 PM
  • 90
    roots
    RUWTbot Took away 37 roots (Close Finish)

    Dodgers 3, Nationals 4  Bot 8, 0 OutsSep 23 9:31 PM
  • 127
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 72 roots (Close Finish)

    Dodgers 3, Nationals 3  Bot 7, 0 OutsSep 23 8:57 PM
  • 55
    roots
    GGG3 Added 5 roots

    Dodgers 3, Nationals 3  Top 7, 0 OutsSep 23 8:48 PM


  • NL
    AT WASHINGTON - SCORING UPDATE
    THREE-RUN HOME RUN BY RYAN ZIMMERMAN (31) TO LEFT CENTER
    WITH 2 OUT IN THE 6TH OFF CHAD BILLINGSLEY SCORED ADAM DUNN
    AND CRISTIAN GUZMAN.
    CURRENT SCORE: LA DODGERS 3, WASHINGTON 3
    DUE UP FOR WASHINGTON: E DUKES (.255, 0-FOR-2)

    Dodgers 3, Nationals 3  Bot 6, 0 OutsSep 23 8:46 PM
  • 50
    roots
    RUWTbot Took away 89 roots

    Dodgers 3, Nationals 3  Bot 6, 0 OutsSep 23 8:46 PM
  • 139
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 32 roots (No-hitter)

    Dodgers 3, Nationals 0  Bot 6, 0 OutsSep 23 8:34 PM


  • NL
    AT WASHINGTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JAMES LONEY SCORED RONNIE BELLIARD
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J LONEY ON FIRST, M KEMP ON SECOND, 2 OUTS
    CURRENT SCORE: LA DODGERS 3
    WASHINGTON 0 TOP,6TH
    DUE UP FOR LA DODGERS: R MARTIN (.257, 1-FOR-2, RBI)

    Dodgers 3, Nationals 0  Top 6, 0 OutsSep 23 8:31 PM
  • 107
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 32 roots (No-hitter)

    Dodgers 2, Nationals 0  Top 6, 0 OutsSep 23 8:21 PM
  • 75
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 32 roots (No-hitter)

    Dodgers 2, Nationals 0  Bot 5, 0 OutsSep 23 8:16 PM
  • 43
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 43 roots (No-hitter)

    Dodgers 2, Nationals 0  Top 5, 0 OutsSep 23 8:08 PM


  • NL
    AT WASHINGTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY RUSSELL MARTIN SCORED RONNIE BELLIARD
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, R MARTIN ON FIRST, J LONEY ON SECOND, A
    ETHIER ON THIRD, 2 OUTS
    CURRENT SCORE: LA DODGERS 2
    WASHINGTON 0 TOP,4TH
    DUE UP FOR LA DODGERS: O HUDSON (.287, 0-FOR-1)

    Dodgers 2, Nationals 0  Top 4, 0 OutsSep 23 7:56 PM


  • NL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    LA DODGERS 1 1 1 0
    WASHINGTON 0 0 0 (BOT 1)


    CURRENT PITCHERS: LOS - CHAD BILLINGSLEY
    WAS - ROSS DETWILER

    DUE UP FOR WASHINGTON: W HARRIS (.224, 7 HR, 24 RBI)
    C GUZMAN (.285, 6 HR, 50 RBI)
    A DUNN (.279, 38 HR, 103 RBI)

    Dodgers 1, Nationals 0  Bot 1, 0 OutsSep 23 7:12 PM