The winningest regular season in the Los Angeles Dodgers history was followed by a loss in a National League Division Series, as former Dodger Howie Kendrick hit a 10th-inning grand slam to give the Washington Nationals a 7-3 victory Wednesday evening at Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on a two-run homer by their second batter, Max Muncy, and increased their lead to 3-0 on Kike Hernandez’s second-inning homer in the decisive game of the best-of-five series.
However, the Dodgers were held to three hits over the final 10 innings as they lost the series, three games to two.
The Nationals tied the score on home runs on consecutive pitches by Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto on consecutive pitches off Clayton Kershaw in the eighth inning.
Kershaw relieved starter Walker Buehler with two outs in the seventh and runners on first and second and struck out Adam Eaton, but allowed home runs to the first two batters he faced in the eighth.
Kenta Maeda relieved Kershaw, striking out the next three batters before a sellout crowd announced at 54,159.
Manager Dave Roberts pinch-hit for Maeda in the bottom of the eighth. Joe Kelly took the mound for the Dodgers in the ninth and retired the side in order.
Kelly walked Eaton, the leadoff hitter in the 10th, then allowed a ground-rule double to the next batter, Rendon. Soto was walked intentionally to load the bases for the 36-year-old Kendrick, who played for the Dodgers from 2015-2016 after beginning his career with the Los Angeles Angels from 2006-14.
Daniel Hudson, the fourth of five Washington pitchers, pitched a shutout ninth for the victory. Sean Dolittle retired the side in order in the 10th to end the game and give the Nationals their first victory in a postseason series. They had lost four division series, three in Game 5, including in 2016 to the Dodgers.
Kelly, the fourth of five Dodger pitchers, was charged with the loss.
Washington will face the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Championship Series, which will begin Friday in St. Louis. The Cardinals defeated the Atlanta Braves, 13-1, Wednesday in Atlanta to win their division series, three games to two.
Buehler allowed one run and four hits in 6 2/3 innings, struck out seven and walked three. Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg allowed three runs and six hits in six innings, struck out seven and walked one.
Joc Pederson led off the first for the Dodgers with what was initially ruled a home run, but the call was overturned following an umpire review and it was determined to be a ground-rule double. Muncy followed by hitting a 3-1 fastball for his third homer of the series.
Soto singled in Rendon, who doubled, in the sixth for Washington’s first run.
The Dodgers won a team-record 106 games in the regular season as they won their seventh consecutive National League West title, but continued their postseason futility. They have not won the World Series since 1988. They lost the World Series in each of the past two seasons. The Dodgers have never reached the World Series in three consecutive seasons.
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