Lowe won despite giving up a season-high three homers, Ramon Martinez hit a go-ahead sacrifice fly and the Los Angeles Dodgers gained ground in the NL West with a 5-4 victory over the Washington Nationals on Monday night.
Los Angeles closed within 5 1/2 games of division-leading Arizona and remained 3 1/2 games back of San Diego in the wild-card race.
“There’s no doubt we’re in a pretty tough situation and we have to win every series from here on out,” Lowe said.
The Dodgers trailed 4-2 before they scored three runs in the sixth inning, capped by Martinez’s sacrifice fly.
“That’s the baseball gods’ way of paying him back,” Dodgers manager Grady Little said about Lowe. “We scored the runs after he was out of there. Getting the hits at the right time is the key. The Los Angeles Dodgers are still fighting for something.”
Lowe (11-11) gave up three homers in a game for the first time in more than two years. The right-hander allowed four runs and seven hits in six innings, struck out five and walked one for his third consecutive win.
“I wasn’t very good,” he said. “The offense picked me up. At this point in the season, it doesn’t really matter how you win. We need a lot of wins.”
Takashi Saito pitched the ninth for his 35th save in 38 chances.
Mike Bacsik (5-8) allowed three consecutive singles to open the sixth, with all three runners scoring. The left-hander gave up five runs and nine hits in five-plus innings, struck out two and walked two in his second start since rejoining the rotation last week after being demoted to the bullpen.
“I was a little disappointed because we had the game where we wanted it,” said Bacsik, who gave up Barry Bonds’ record-breaking 756th homer three weeks ago. “It’s tough, but I fought and battled with what I had and just came out on the wrong end. I didn’t have my best stuff.”
The Nationals, who lost their fourth in a row, took a 3-2 lead in the second on homers by Dmitri Young and Wily Mo Pena, who had a two-run shot. Lowe gave up hits to four of the first five batters he faced in the inning.
“He was battling, trying to get the ball down and making mistakes,” Russell said about Lowe. “He only left a couple up and the ones he did were out of there.”
Pena homered after fouling the ball off his left foot on the previous pitch. He winced in pain hobbling around the bases, then left in the bottom half and was replaced by Ryan Church. Pena was diagnosed with a contusion on his foot and is day to day.
“I knew I was hurt, but I pretended like nothing happened. Then when I walked around, I couldn’t do anything,” he said. “So I stepped back in there, saw another two-seamer and I just hit it. I tried to put my foot down, but I couldn’t put any weight on it, so I had to start jumping to first base because I was hurt.”
The Nationals extended their lead to 4-2 in the fifth with Ryan Zimmerman’s 20th homer on the first pitch from Lowe.
CF Juan Pierre stole his 52nd base in the first, the most by a Dodger since Steve Sax swiped 56 in 1983. He also went 2-for-4 to extend his season-high hitting streak to 15 games. … The Nationals lost their sixth in a row to the Dodgers dating to last season. … Lowe gave up three homers in a game for the first time since Aug. 16, 2005, against the Atlanta Braves. … Former Dodgers pitcher Don Sutton, the franchise leader in wins with 233 and now a broadcaster for the Nationals, threw out the first pitch.