Los Angeles, CA – Matt Kemp hit his 11th home run of the year in the 10th inning to lift the Dodgers to a 4-3 win over the Nationals to spoil the debut of Bryce Harper.
The Dodgers had scored twice in the ninth to tie the game, and Kemp won it when he drilled a low, 1-2 fastball over the center field wall for the win.
"We're having fun right now," said Kemp. "It took everybody to get this win tonight. I got the pitch I wanted to hit, a fastball over the middle and I hit it hard."
A.J. Ellis and Juan Uribe each drove in a run for the Dodgers, who have won the first two games of this three-game set. Chad Billingsley gave up just one run on five hits over seven innings while Jamey Wright (1-0) got the win for a flawless 10th inning.
"I was proud of the guys for bouncing back in the ninth," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. "To scratch out a win against those guys is showing that our guys are playing together. It's fun to watch Kemp, you see him getting better and better."
Harper, the top pick of the 2010 draft, drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in the ninth and hit a double in the seventh for the Nationals, who have dropped three straight. Stephen Strasburg went seven innings and gave up one run on five hits over seven innings. Tom Gorzelanny (1-1) was handed the loss.
Los Angeles left men on first and second in the second inning and Ian Desmond popped into a double play in the Washington third.
Strasburg hit a leadoff double in the sixth and moved to third on a Desmond groundout, but Steve Lombardozzi and Jayson Werth both grounded out to end the inning.
LaRoche led off the seventh with his fourth homer of the season. After the next two batters struck out, Harper punched a double to center for his first career hit, but he was left there when Strasburg struck out after Wilson Ramos was issued a free pass.
"I really didn't have any butterflies," said Harper. "Billingsley has good stuff and I was just looking for a pitch that I could drive. I wasn't really thinking about anything when I was standing on second. Hairston came over and congratulated me. We fought to the end, but I wish we could have gotten the win."
The Dodgers answered in the bottom of the frame. Jerry Hairston was hit by a pitch to start the inning and James Loney reached base on an error to Danny Espinosa. After Uribe struck out, Ellis singled to left. Harper made a strong throw to the plate and the ball got there on time, but Hairston was able to knock the ball out of Ramos' glove and tied the game. Juan Rivera hit into a double play to end the inning.
Washington went back on top in the ninth off Javy Guerra. With men on first and third, Harper drove in his first run with a sacrifice fly to left and Ramos followed with an RBI single to right for a 3-1 advantage.
It didn't hold, though, as Henry Rodriguez gave it right back. Mark Ellis started with a single and took second on a wild pitch. Loney then singled and a ground-rule double from Uribe made it a one-run game. A.J. Ellis then struck out and Adam Kennedy hit a grounder back to first that saw Loney nailed at home. A wild pitch with Dee Gordon at the plate then scored Uribe to tie the game.
Gordon eventually struck out, but the third strike went wild and he advanced to first, prompting a pitching change that saw Gorzelanny take the mound and get Tony Gwynn Jr. to line out sharply to first and end the inning.
A fan ran on the field in the bottom of the ninth inning...Los Angeles has won four straight over Washington...The Nats left seven men on base while Los Angeles stranded eight...Kemp set a Dodgers record for home runs in April...Hairston left the game after the seventh inning with a left hand contusion. X-rays were negative.