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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.

Brewers have 3 positive COVID tests at alternate site

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
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MILWAUKEE — The Brewers had two players and a staff member test positive for the coronavirus at their alternate training site in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Milwaukee president of baseball operations David Stearns confirmed the positive results Saturday and said they shouldn’t impact the major league team. Teams are using alternate training sites this season to keep reserve players sharp because the minor league season was canceled due to the pandemic.

Stearns said the positive tests came Monday and did not name the two players or the staff member. Players must give their permission for their names to be revealed after positive tests.

The entire camp was placed in quarantine.

“We have gone through contact tracing,” Stearns said. “We do not believe it will have any impact at all on our major league team. We’ve been fortunate to get through this season relatively unscathed in this area. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get all the way there at our alternate site.”

Milwaukee entered Saturday one game behind the Reds and Cardinals for second place in the NL Central, with the top two teams qualifying for the postseason.

The Brewers still will be able to take taxi squad players with them on the team’s trip to Cincinnati and St. Louis in the final week of the season. He said those players have had repeated negative tests and the team is “confident” there would be no possible spread of the virus.

“Because of the nature of who these individuals were, it’s really not going to affect the quarantine group at all,” Stearns said. “We’re very fortunate that the group of players who could potentially be on a postseason roster for us aren’t interacting all that much with the individuals that tested positive.”