Washington, DC – Andre Ethier's solo home run in the ninth inning lifted the Los Angeles Dodgers over the Washington Nationals, 3-2, in the opener of a three-game set.
Hanley Ramirez added a two-run homer and Adrian Gonzalez had two hits and scored a run for the Dodgers, who have won 18 of their last 23 games.
"These games that we're winning now that we were losing at the beginning of the year definitely make it a lot more fun," Ethier said. "Always, the cure for a bad time is when you start putting W's out there."
Dodgers starter Ricky Nolasco, who made his third start for the Dodgers, allowed two runs on eight hits over 5 1/3 innings.
Ronald Belisario (4-5) earned the win after recording the final out of the eighth inning and Kenley Jansen picked up his 10th save after retiring the side in order in the ninth.
Ian Desmond had two hits and an RBI and Bryce Harper added a pair of hits and a run scored for the Nationals, losers in six of their last eight games.
Rafael Soriano (1-2) was pegged with the loss after giving up Ethier's homer. Starter Stephen Strasburg yielded two runs on seven hits while striking out six over seven innings.
The Nationals took a 1-0 lead in the second inning. Harper doubled then moved to third on Jayson Werth's fly out to right field. Werth lifted a sharply-hit fly ball to deep right field and Harper broke for third. Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig, though, delivered a strike to the third base bag, but Harper was able to slide in safely.
However, replays showed that Puig's throw had beaten Harper to the bag and third baseman Juan Uribe applied the tag to Harper's right leg before he touched the base. Harper scored on a wild pitch during the following at bat.
Ramirez's two-run shot in the third put Los Angeles on top 2-1. With two outs, Gonzalez singled to center field and Ramirez crushed a first-pitch fastball over the wall in right-center field.
The Nationals, though, left the bases loaded in the fourth, this after stringing together two singles and walk to start the inning.
"Getting bases loaded with no outs is a huge situation," Harper said. "We couldn't capitalize. Hopefully we can come back tomorrow, get things going and score early."
Washington tied the game in the sixth. Ryan Zimmerman singled before taking third on Werth's base hit with one out. Desmond followed with a base hit to center to bring Zimmerman home.
Over 40 games this season, Ramirez is batting .382 with nine home runs and 27 RBI ... Over three starts against Washington this season (two with Miami), Nolasco has allowed just eight earned runs ... Ethier has six home runs this season ... Harper batted clean up for the first time in his career ... The Nats are just 5-37 when scoring two or fewer runs this season ,... Over three career starts against the Dodgers, Strasburg has allowed just three earned runs.