Nationals even series behind Lobaton's big blast

WASHINGTON -- The Washington Nationals are not missing Wilson Ramos as much -- not after Jose Lobaton's three-run home run gave them a lead they would not relinquish in Game 2 of the National League Division Series.

The Nationals held off the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-2 on Sunday to send the best-of-five series to the West Coast tied at a game each.

Ramos’ late-season knee injury was potentially a doomsday development for the Nationals, who relied heavily on their catcher, especially at the plate. But his replacements have more than held their own. Not only did Lobaton hit his home run Sunday, but also Pedro Severino hit a double off Clayton Kershaw in Game 1 on Friday.

Nationals pitchers walked a tightrope throughout the game but ultimately got the job done. The Dodgers left the bases loaded three times in the first five innings. Twice that happened with one out, but Yasmani Grandal grounded into a double play to end the top of the third and struck out in the fifth.

The Dodgers will still consider the start to the series a success, mainly because of Friday’s Game 1 victory. They head home knowing two victories at Dodger Stadium will send them to the National League Championship Series.

Just as in Game 1, Dodgers rookie Corey Seager hit a first-inning home run. Seager’s two postseason home runs as a rookie match what former Dodger Jim Gilliam did in 1953. They are the only two Dodgers rookies to hit a home run in the postseason.

On Sunday, the Dodgers left 12 runners on base and went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

The Nationals’ clutch pitching was especially impressive, considering the Dodgers batted .319 with the bases loaded in the regular season, the third-best mark in baseball.