Dodgers dominate Nats 6-0 in NLDS
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Dodgers overpowered the Nationals on the mound and at the plate, extending the dominance that led to a franchise-record 106 victories in the regular season right on into the playoffs.
Walker Buehler allowed one hit over six innings, Max Muncy drove in three runs and Los Angeles capitalized on mistakes to beat Washington 6-0 in Game 1 of their NL Division Series on Thursday night.
“Oh, they’re good. They’re really good,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “That’s why they have been in the postseason so many years in a row.”
Buehler struck out eight, walked three and retired his final seven batters after earning the start over veterans Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu, whose 2.32 ERA was lowest in the majors this season.
“Walker, time and time again, just knows how to temper, control his emotions and transfer that into the delivery, the execution of pitches,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
Dodgers rookie Gavin Lux and Joc Pederson slugged pinch-hit solo homers in the eighth.
Nationals first baseman Howie Kendrick had two grounders roll under his glove, the second leading to the Dodgers’ second run in the fifth.
Washington’s Patrick Corbin stumbled through a rocky first inning. He issued four walks, joining Art Reinhart of the St. Louis Cardinals as the only pitchers to walk that many in the first inning they ever pitched in the postseason.
Reinhart walked four _ including Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig _ in the fifth inning of Game 4 of the 1926 World Series against the Yankees.
“That first inning was the game,” Roberts said. “That really set the tone.”
Corbin walked three in a row with two outs in the 31-pitch inning. Yan Gomes was charged with a passed ball, too, and Muncy drew a free pass with the bases loaded to put the Dodgers in front.
“Walked a lot of guys, chased a lot of bad pitches,” Martinez said. “When you’re walking guys and not hitting, it’s tough to win ballgames.”
Corbin gave up two runs – one earned – and three hits in six innings. The left-hander struck out nine and finished with five walks.
“It just didn’t seem like he had his command,” Muncy said. “We did a really good job of not chasing balls out of the zone.”
Cody Bellinger walked with two outs and scored on an error by Kendrick in the fifth that made it 2-0. Third baseman Anthony Rendon made a diving stop on Chris Taylor’s single down the line, but his throw to first wasn’t in time and Bellinger went to third.
Muncy’s grounder rolled through Kendrick’s legs for an error, scoring Bellinger, and Taylor got thrown out at the plate to end the inning.
Muncy added a two-run single with two outs in the seventh, extending the lead to 4-0.
Juan Soto, who had the key hit in the wild-card win over Milwaukee, singled in the second and Trea Turner doubled in the ninth off Joe Kelly for the Nationals’ only hits.