Dodgers end wet Nats series with win, rainout

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WASHINGTON (AP)—Here are three words for which the Los Angeles Dodgers can be thankful: sunny Southern California.

After this week, the Washington Nationals might want to move there, too.

The Dodgers completed a series win over the Nationals on Thursday, but what a messy trip it was to the nation’s capital. It rained Tuesday, nearly ruining Stephen Strasburg’s(notes) comeback game. It rained Wednesday. It rained Thursday. OK, Monday was fine, but that seems like a long time ago.

Somewhere in between, there were three games played, including a 7-4 Dodgers win Thursday afternoon before another round of torrents canceled the second game of a doubleheader.

Oh, and did we mention that the Nationals have also recently experienced hurricane-related weather and an earthquake—the latter of which is actually much more common in Dodgerland?

“It’s been a pretty active weather season,” Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said, “when you talk about earthquakes, hurricanes and downpour of rains for days and days at a time.”

The doubleheader was necessitated because Wednesday’s game was postponed after four hours of on-again, off-again drama involving the Major League Baseball front office, which would prefer to see every team play a full 162 games.

But postponed it was, so the teams returned Thursday to try to play two. They got the first one in, but the second one won’t be made up unless it’s needed at the end of the season to determine a playoff race, an unlikely scenario.

“You’re going to try and play the games,” Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly said. “I don’t think they like not playing 162. Both of us, it doesn’t look like we’re going be making any noise in the playoffs. If it doesn’t mean anything, I’m sure we won’t be flying back in here. … I hope we have to. That would be great, actually.”

In the game that was played, Tony Gwynn had a tiebreaking double in the ninth inning after the Dodgers bullpen bailed out starter Chad Billingsley(notes).

Billingsley got out of a jam after walking the bases loaded in the second, but he gave up five hits in a four-run third that tied the game. Then he was gone—his shortest start in more than two years.

“We gave him some runs early—then he walks three guys in one inning,” Mattingly said. “Got to locate. I don’t care who you are—you’ve got to locate.”

The relievers came through with 6 2-3 hitless innings. Mike MacDougal(notes) (3-1), the Dodgers’ sixth pitcher, worked the eighth for the win. Javy Guerra(notes) pitched the ninth for his 16th save.

“The guys threw the ball extremely well out of the bullpen,” Billingsley said. “They’ve been throwing up some good innings. That’s the game right there.”

Gwynn drove in Jerry Sands(notes) and Rod Barajas(notes) with a long double to center off Drew Storen(notes) (6-3). Dee Gordon(notes) added a run-scoring single—setting a career high with his fourth hit of the game.

Juan Rivera(notes) hit two-run doubles in the first and third off Chien-Ming Wang(notes) to give the Dodgers the early lead.

“We only had a couple of guys that faced Chien-Ming before and Juan was one of them. (His numbers) jumped at me so I had to keep him in there,” Mattingly said.

Wang worked six innings—allowing four runs and seven hits—in his eighth start since returning from shoulder surgery.

“I was very pleased. He was strong at the end,” Washington manager Davey Johnson said. “I’m not going to go too much longer with him. He’s making progress.”

The Nationals’ runs in the third came on RBI doubles from Ryan Zimmerman(notes) and Michael Morse(notes) and Jayson Werth’s(notes) two-run home run.

When it was over, the Dodgers headed for a weekend series in San Francisco, where sunshine is in the forecast. The Nationals will stay home—where thunderstorms are possible, seemingly indefinitely.

“It’s just been weird,” Storen said. “It’s part of the job. You can’t control the weather.”

NOTES: Dodgers OF Andre Ethier(notes) was shut down for the season. He’ll get his ailing right knee examined by Dr. James Andrews. “I’m just trying to figure this whole thing out right now and figure out a way to get it better where it won’t affect me for spring training,” Ethier said. Ethier had a 30-game hitting streak—the second longest in team history and the second longest in the major leagues this season. … Johnson said he was resting 2B Danny Espinosa(notes), who this week set a team record with seven straight strikeouts, because he was mentally tired. Stephen Lombardozzi got his first major league start. … C Ivan Rodriguez(notes), who was on the disabled list for nearly two months with an oblique strain, will be limited to pinch-hitting for the remainder of the season. Johnson wants to see more of Wilson Ramos(notes) and Jesus Flores(notes). … Nats prospect Bryce Harper(notes), who has a strained hamstring, won’t play in the Eastern League playoffs. … Washington begins a three-game series with Houston on Friday. LHP Tom Milone (0-0) will pitch against RHP Bud Norris(notes) (6-9). … Los Angeles will go with LHP Clayton Kershaw(notes) (17-5) against San Francisco RHP Tim Lincecum(notes) (12-12).

AP freelance writer Rich Dubroff contributed to this report.

Joseph White can be reached at

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