Adam Laroche didn’t enter the game until the ninth inning but his impact was written all over it by the game’s end. He reached base in every one of his four plate appearances and was responsible for driving in five runs to push the Washington Nationals past the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-5 in 14 innings.
When Laroche came to the plate in the 14h inning there should have been two outs. But Justin Turner — the once hero in what seemed like an entirely different game altogether — pulled Adrian Gonzalez off the bag just enough to allow Ian Desmond to reach safely.
After a Bryce Harper walk, Desmond stole third to setup Laroche’s fifth RBI. The lefty grounded to short and the Dodgers were unable to turn the double play allowing what would be the winning run to score.
It was because of Laroche that the game was even in extra innings when he smashed a two-run homer off Kenley Jansen in the ninth to tie the game. Laroche nearly won the game for the visiting club with a 12th inning bases loaded single to score two runs.
The one-man wrecking crew that is Laroche keeps the Nationals two games ahead of the Dodgers for home field in the National League. The Dodgers couldn’t take advantage of the San Francisco Giants loss Wednesday and remain two games ahead in the NL West.
At 14 innings, the game lasted five hours and 34 minutes, qualifying for the longest game of the season for the Dodgers in every way imaginable. A total of 51 players played in the game which falls three shy of the major league record.
It looked like the Dodgers had the game won when they headed to the ninth with a 2-0 lead and Jansen on the mound.
Jansen had been asked to protect the lead by nailing down a four-out save after being summoned with two outs in the eighth. The first out came easy enough, however the ninth inning turned out to be a nightmare for the Dodger closer.
Four of the six Nationals hitters to face Jansen in the ninth reached base safely including Laroche’s two-run homer to tie the game at 2-2. A single and stolen base, followed by a groundout, left pinch-runner Danny Espinosa at third with two outs for Denard Span.
The Nationals center fielder had already done some damage against the Dodgers in the series opener on Monday with two homers. Span turned on a Jansen 93-mph cutter for a single to right that brought Espinosa home with the go-ahead run.
Before Jansen gave up the lead in the ninth, Turner had seemingly given the Dodgers all they needed on offense. In the seventh inning Turner apparently was hit on the left arm by a pitch from Jordan Zimmermann but the home plate umpire didn’t see it that way.
Neither did the reviewing crew back in New York and Turner remained at the plate. It didn’t matter if Turner was hit or not because three pitches later he launched a two-run homer into center field for a 2-0 lead.
Carlos Frias started the game for the Dodgers to give the rest of the rotation an extra day of rest. It was the first start for the 24-year-old and he did well to trade zeroes on the scoreboard with Zimmermann for six innings. Frias allowed only three hits and a walk, retiring the last 10 batters he faces.
The Dodgers are off Thursday before welcoming the Arizona Diamondbacks to town. Arizona is a welcome site for the Dodgers who have taken 12 of 16 from the snakes this season.
WP: Blake Treinen (2-3, 2.23)
LP: Kevin Correia (7-16, 5.05)