Sports

Dodgers can't shut the door, fall in 14 innings

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Dodgers pitcher Kevin Correia looks down after giving up a two-run home run to the Nationals' Asdrubal Cabrera in the 14th inning. MICHAEL GOULDING, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

LOS ANGELES – It was a night game that started at noon.

One-hundred-year-old Dorothy Finnerty threw out the ceremonial pitch before Wednesday’s game at Dodger Stadium. It was followed by 467 more as the Dodgers and Washington Nationals played the eighth-longest game in Dodgers franchise history.

When it finally ended after 14 innings played by 51 players over five hours and 34 minutes, the Dodgers had blown a two-run lead in the ninth, wasted two bases-loaded situations in extra innings without scoring but rallied twice to extend the game after they were down to their last out – only to lose, 8-5.

“It was a wild one, back and forth, both teams kept fighting back,” said Justin Turner, whose two-run home run in the seventh inning when Finnerty was still young put the first runs of the day on the scoreboard.

“Two first-place teams battling it out. Nobody wants to give it up,” said Carl Crawford, whose two-run home run with two outs in the 12th inning rescued the Dodgers once.

They didn’t always play like first-place teams. Each closer (Kenley Jansen for the Dodgers and Rafael Soriano for the Nationals) blew a save. The Dodgers went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts in their two bases-loaded situations. And Jayson Werth dropped what should have been the final out of the game – a slicing drive by Turner into the right-field corner. That allowed Andre Ethier to score the tying run from first base.

A throwing error by Turner in the 14th made the Nationals’ three decisive runs all unearned. Two of those runs came in on a home run by Asdrubal Cabrera.

“He told me it went right into the sun at the last second,” Turner said of the drive that Werth tried to catch around his knees while running to his left.

The Nationals offered no such help in the 10th and 11th. The Dodgers loaded the bases with one out each time but couldn’t score. They are now a major-league worst 17 for 99 (.172) with the bases loaded this season.

Their best chance might have come in the 10th but slow-moving catcher A.J. Ellis was the lead runner. He was at second when Yasiel Puig singled to right field. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said he hadn’t pinch-run for Ellis because he didn’t want to burn two players (a pinch-runner and third catcher Drew Butera) on the move with Scott Van Slyke unavailable (his wife went into labor) and Erisbel Arruebarrena limited to pinch-running only by a sore shoulder.

So Ellis was held at third by coach Lorenzo Bundy on Puig’s hit. Then Arruebarrena pinch-ran for him – and watched from third base as Adrian Gonzalez and Juan Uribe struck out.

“I don’t think he (Arruebarrena) scores either (from second on Puig’s single to right),” Mattingly insisted. “We talked about it before the inning. That’s two more players there.

“It didn’t change anything. He’s not scoring there.”

Mattingly did not have a good day strategically. He turned to Jansen for a four-out save, bringing him in to face Werth with a runner on in the eighth inning even though Jansen had little down time after closing out Tuesday’s night game. Jansen gave up the lead on a two-run home run by Adam LaRoche in the ninth. It was Jansen’s fifth blown save of the season (in 44 save situations).

“We don’t want to do it a lot,” Mattingly said of asking Jansen to get four outs. “But you see it in the playoffs and this is that time of year.”

In the 11th, back-to-back singles by Crawford and Turner put runners on for rookie Joc Pederson. Mattingly had Pederson bunt them over against lefty reliever Jerry Blevins, then sent up Matt Kemp to pinch-hit.

Predictably, the Nationals intentionally walked Kemp – loading the bases with one out yet again – to face Butera. The .190-hitting backup catcher had a good at-bat, making Blevins throw 11 pitches before popping out to third base. Dee Gordon followed and struck out on four pitches against Blevins.

“A lefty there, we figure we got to get him over there and give ourselves a chance,” Mattingly said. “‘Bu’ got it to 3-and-2 and fouled off two balls. We kind of know what we’re into. We’re out of players at that point. We feel we’ve got to try and win the game right there.

“Yeah, it was a consideration (letting Pederson hit). But we felt like it gave us the best chance.”

The marathon loss stung less because the second-place San Francisco Giants also lost Wednesday afternoon, in much more expeditious fashion, and the Dodgers’ lead in the NL West remained two games.

“You can worry about it and stress yourself out over it,” Crawford said of the loss. “Or you can put it behind you, worry about what you can control and move forward.”

Contact the writer: bplunkett@ocregister.com

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