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Dodgers edge Scherzer, Nationals in NLDS opener

WASHINGTON -- Los Angeles Dodgers rookie shortstop Corey Seager hit a homer in his first at-bat, then watched four relievers run past him on the way to the mound Friday night before a sellout crowd at Nationals Park.

WASHINGTON -- Los Angeles Dodgers rookie shortstop Corey Seager hit a homer in his first at-bat, then watched four relievers run past him on the way to the mound Friday night before a sellout crowd at Nationals Park.

 

"Whatever we have to do to win, right?" Seager said.

 

The Dodgers did exactly that in Game 1 of the National League Division Series, as they hit two home runs off Max Scherzer and got a five-out save from closer Kenley Jansen to beat the Washington Nationals 4-3 in a game in which neither bullpen allowed a run.

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The Los Angeles bullpen, four pitchers strong, gave up just one hit and no runs in four innings.

 

"All of the guys we have, it is a great group of guys," Jansen said of the bullpen. "We are all together. We know it is coming down to us. I feel that is what we did again."

 

The start also began well for the Dodgers as the second batter of the game, Seager, went deep.

 

"That set the tone for us," Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner said.

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Turner then hit a two-run homer in the third off Scherzer on a night thatDodgers starter Clayton Kershaw got the win even though he pitched just five innings.

 

"Clayton is the ultimate competitor. He didn't have his best stuff tonight," Turner said. "He went out and competed like he always does. The bullpen has been our backbone all season long."

 

Turner was also a competitor he was hit by a pitch in the first inning but didn't even think of coming out of the game.

 

Kershaw gave up three runs while Scherzer yielded four in six innings on a night neither bullpen allowed a run. Game 2 is slated for Saturday afternoon in Washington with rain in the forecast.

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Jansen came on with one out in the eighth and gave up a two-out pinch-hit double to Clint Robinson. Jansen struck out pinch-hitter Chris Heisey looking for the third out, and set down the side in the bottom of the ninth for the save after he fanned for the last out in the top of the frame with the bases loaded. Jayson Werth struck out to end the game.

 

"Both bullpens pitched well and there wasn't any scoring past the fourth, I think," said Dusty Baker, the Washington manager. "But we had opportunities."

 

One missed opportunity came when Daniel Murphy was thrown out stealing second in the seventh for the second out with Anthony Rendon, who had two hits, at the plate.

 

Baker said that Murphy, who had walked, tried to steal on his own after he had been dealing with a strained glute.

 

"I guess the leg felt better, you know, than I imagined, because he's running pretty good," Baker said of Murphy. "So you know, that's not what lost the game. I mean we had plenty of opportunities to score, even before that. So that's kind of the saga of the year. You know, we didn't hit with runners in scoring position."

 

Scherzer took the loss, giving up four runs and five hits in six innings with five strikeouts before he was lifted for pinch-hitter Wilmer Difo in the sixth after tossing 91 pitches. Sammy Solis pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth for Washington, and closer Mark Melancon pitched the ninth.

 

Ryan Zimmerman also had two hits for the Nationals, who lost five of six games to the Dodgers during the regular season. Turner and Yasmani Grandal had two hits apiece for the Dodgers.

 

"Obviously you want to strike first," Grandal said. "We will turn the page tomorrow."

 

Washington's Trea Turner had a sacrifice fly to drive in fellow rookie Pedro Severino, who had doubled, to cut the Dodgers lead to 4-3 in the fourth.

 

The Nationals broke through against Kershaw in the third as Rendon had a two-run, two-out single to left to trim the margin to 4-2.

 

The Dodgers scored three runs in the third to make it 4-0.

 

Chase Utley had an RBI single and Turner lofted a two-run homer into the Dodgers bullpen in left that barely eluded the jump of right fielder Werth. The hit by Utley scored Andrew Toles, who led off with a single and took second on a sacrifice bunt by Kershaw.

 

Seager, the likely NL Rookie of the Year, gave the Dodgers a 1-0 lead with a solo homer with one out in the first off Scherzer --who gave up 31 homers during the season.

 

The Nationals loaded the bases in the second on singles by Murphy and Zimmerman and then Severino reached on an error by second baseman Utley. But with two outs, Scherzer popped out to short to complete an eight-pitch at-bat and end the threat.

 

Kershaw fanned the side in the first as Turner, Bryce Harper and Werth all went down swinging. The game began at 5:38 p.m. ET but there were no shadows on a cloudy day in the nation's capital. The wind blew in from right field during the game.

 

Scherzer did not face Los Angeles during the 2016 regular season. Kershaw was 12-4 with a 1.69 ERA this year after spending time on the disabled list in July and August with a mild herniated disc in his lower back. He entered the game 2-6 with a 4.59 ERA in the postseason.

 

"That's sort of been our formula all year long, you know, getting big outs,"Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of the bullpen. "And you know, obviously tonight was not the start we had envisioned for Clayton. The thing I feel really good about is it's what we've done all year long, so those guys have been in some tough situations and have answered the bell every time."

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