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Jose Lobaton helps power Nationals past Dodgers 5-2 in NLDS Game 2

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Catcher Jose Lobaton and second baseman Daniel Murphy were the offensive heroes of NLDS Game 2 against the Dodgers on Sunday afternoon as the Nationals won 5-2. Lobaton blasted a three-run homer while Murphy helped out with pair of RBI singles, accounting for all five runs.

The Dodgers had taken a 2-0 lead after three innings as Corey Seager smacked a solo homer in the first inning and Justin Turner drove in the second run with a single in the third. But in the bottom of the fourth, Lobaton turned the game on its head with a well-struck three-run home run to left field off of Rich Hill. Murphy added his RBI singles in the fifth and seventh.

Hill is not prone to yielding home runs as opposing batters hit only four of them during the 2016 regular season — two with the A’s over 14 starts and two with the Dodgers over six starts. Lobaton had only three homers and a .374 slugging percentage over 114 plate appearances. It seems the stars truly aligned for that one.

Neither starter finished the fifth inning. Hill went 4 1/3 innings, giving up four runs on six hits and two walks with seven strikeouts on 82 pitches. Tanner Roark also went 4 1/3, allowing two runs on seven hits and three walks with a lone strikeout on 85 pitches.

Mark Rzepczynski, Sammy Solis, Blake Treinen, and Oliver Perez combined for 3 2/3 hitless innings of relief for the Nats. Mark Melancon came on in the ninth, getting Seager to ground out for the first out of the final frame. Turner singled, but Melancon recovered by striking out Adrian Gonzalez and getting Josh Reddick out on a 4-3 grounder.

The Dodgers had their opportunities. They had the bases loaded with one out in the second inning, but came up empty twice. They loaded the bases again in the third, but Yasmani Grandal grounded into an inning-ending double play. Again, the Dodgers had the bases loaded with one out in the fifth but Grandal struck out and Howie Kendrick lined out.

With the NLDS now tied at one game apiece, the series will head back to Los Angeles. Monday’s Game 3 will begin at 4:00 PM EDT featuring the Nationals’ Gio Gonzalez squaring off against the Dodgers’ Kenta Maeda.

Nationals’ major leaguers to continue offering financial assistance to minor leaguers

Sean Doolittle
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On Sunday, we learned that while the Nationals would continue to pay their minor leaguers throughout the month of June, their weekly stipend would be lowered by 25 percent, from $400 to $300. In an incredible act of solidarity, Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle and his teammates put out a statement, saying they would be covering the missing $100 from the stipends.

After receiving some criticism, the Nationals reversed course, agreeing to pay their minor leaguers their full $400 weekly stipend.

Doolittle and co. have not withdrawn their generosity. On Wednesday, Doolittle released another statement, saying that he and his major league teammates would continue to offer financial assistance to Nationals minor leaguers through the non-profit organization More Than Baseball.

The full statement:

Washington Nationals players were excited to learn that our minor leaguers will continue receiving their full stipends. We are grateful that efforts have been made to restore their pay during these challenging times.

We remain committed to supporting them. Nationals players are partnering with More Than Baseball to contribute funds that will offer further assistance and financial support to any minor leaguers who were in the Nationals organization as of March 1.

We’ll continue to stand with them as we look forward to resuming our 2020 MLB season.

Kudos to Doolittle and the other Nationals continuing to offer a helping hand in a trying time. The players shouldn’t have to subsidize their employers’ labor expenses, but that is the world we live in today.