Chavis scores on Varland’s 11th-inning wild pitch as Nats beat Dodgers 7-6 after 4-hour rain delay
WASHINGTON (AP) — Michael Chavis scored on Gus Varland’s game-ending wild pitch in the 11th inning, and the Washington Nationals beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 7-6 on Saturday night in a game that started after a 4-hour, 10-minute rain delay.
Los Angeles overcame a 5-4 ninth-inning deficit against Kyle Finnegan, who blew a save for the eighth time in 33 chances. James Outman walked after fouling off five consecutive pitches, stole second, went to third on catcher Keibert Ruiz’s throwing error and scored when Kolton Wong singled past a drawn-in infield.
Kiké Hernández hit an RBI single in the 10th, but Ruiz singled home a run in the bottom half.
With automatic runner Chavis on second base to start the 11th, Jacob Young sacrificed and CJ Abrams was intentionally walked by Varland (1-1). Lane Thomas hit into a forceout as Chavis held at third, but then Varland bounced a slider off catcher Will Smith.
“When I made that initial read I knew I had a good chance of getting there and as I was sliding in I knew I was going to be safe,” Chavis said. “How close it was going to be? No clue. And I know I came back just to touch the bag just to be safe ’cause you know how awkward plays at home are.”
Andrés Machado (4-1) pitched a hitless inning for the win.
Los Angeles (86-55) holds a 12-game lead in the NL West over Arizona with 21 games left.
“I thought we did a good job of not letting circumstances affect how we prepare and go about playing a baseball game,” manager Dave Roberts said after the Dodgers sat through the delay and then rallied from a 5-2 deficit. “It doesn’t feel good, certainly the way we lost the game. But I thought there was a lot of good things, whether it be big at-bats, defensive plays, pitches that were made.”
Washington starter Jake Irvin gave up a run and three hits over six innings. Dodgers rookie Bobby Miller gave up five runs and six hits in seven innings with a career-high eight strikeouts.
J.D. Martinez had three hits for the Dodgers.
Thomas, who missed Washington’s three previous games due to a back injury, built a 5-2 lead with his 24th homer, a two-out drive in the seventh. He has homered in his last four games played.
“I think everybody would’ve been happy if we did it earlier,” Thomas said of the win. “It’s a quick turnaround tomorrow. But it was awesome. A lot of energy. I think those guys take advantage of mistakes, and we’ve just got to take advantage of theirs, too.”
Max Muncy hit a two-run homer for the Dodgers in the eighth against Hunter Harvey.
BETTS FEELING BETTER
Los Angeles slugger Mookie Betts (bone bruise) said he was improving after fouling a ball off his left foot Thursday.
“It’s better now,” Betts said. “I’m going to try and move around a little bit today and see how it feels.”
Roberts said the star outfielder could return Sunday.
“It’s just a bruise,” Betts said. “A bruise that hurts. Bruises hurt for sure, but it’s just a bruise.”
Washington turned in four stellar defensive plays in the late innings. Young made a leaping catch at the center-field wall in the sixth and left fielder Jake Alu copied him in the eighth. In the ninth, right fielder Alex Call robbed Hernández with a diving catch near the line. In the 10th, Chavis made a diving stop against Muncy at second base.
Nationals LHP MacKenzie Gore went on the 15-day injured list with blisters on the middle finger of his pitching hand. Gore left after four innings of his start Friday night against the Dodgers.
Dodgers: Roberts said LHP Ryan Yarbrough (7-6, 3.80 ERA) will likely make the start Sunday. Since being acquired from the Royals, he has made seven appearances, all in relief.
Nationals: RHP Trevor Williams (6-9, 5.21) has a 2.97 ERA over his past six starts and Washington is 4-2 in those games.
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