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Nationals take 2-1 NLDS lead with 8-3 win over the Dodgers in Game 3

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The Nationals rallied for four runs in the third inning against Dodgers starter Kenta Maeda and scored four more in the ninth against closer Kenley Jansen, helping them win 8-3 and take a 2-1 NLDS series lead on Monday afternoon at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.

The Dodgers opened the scoring in the bottom of the first with Justin Turner drawing a one-out walk and promptly scoring on a Corey Seager double off of starter Gio Gonzalez. That would be it for offense for the Dodgers until the fifth.

In the third, Trea Turner led off with a single. Jayson Werth followed up with a double to right field. Outfielder Yasiel Puig made a strong throw home, but Turner’s speed was too much, allowing him to score. Werth went to third base on the throw. After Daniel Murphy flied out, Bryce Harper singled Werth home. Harper then stole second base and went to third on a throwing error by catcher Yasmani Grandal. Anthony Rendon then cranked out a two-run homer to left field, making it a 4-1 game.

In the fifth, the Dodgers clawed back into the game. Joc Pederson hit a one-out single. Carlos Ruiz pinch-hit for reliever Pedro Baez and jacked a two-run shot to left field, closing the gap to 4-3.

From there, however, the Nationals’ bullpen was too good for the Dodgers to overcome. Sammy Solis got five outs without allowing a run. Oliver Perez got one, and Shawn Kelly got five to bridge the gap to closer Mark Melancon.

The Nationals gave closer Mark Melancon plenty of cushion in the bottom of the ninth. Jayson Werth blasted a solo home run off of Jansen to push the lead to 5-3. Jansen then walked Murphy, hit Harper with a pitch, then allowed both to score on a one-out Ryan Zimmerman double to right field, making it a 7-3 game. Ross Stripling came in to relieve Jansen but yielded a sacrifice fly to Chris Heisey, pushing the lead to 8-3. A one-run lead became five in a matter of about 10 minutes.

Melancon got Grandal to fly out for the first out of the bottom of the ninth. Josh Reddick then grounded out and Pederson flied out to left to end the game, sealing the 8-3 victory for the Nationals. The Nationals will look to clinch the NLDS at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday at 5:00 PM EDT. The Nationals have yet to name a starter, but whoever it is, he will oppose the Dodgers’ Julio Urias or Clayton Kershaw.

Rockies, Trevor Story agree on two-year, $27.5 million contract

Trevor Story
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ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the Rockies and shortstop Trevor Story have come to terms on a two-year, $27.5 million deal, buying out his two remaining years of arbitration eligibility.

Story, 27, and the Rockies did not agree on a salary before the deadline earlier this month. Story filed for $11.5 million while the team countered at $10.75 million. The average annual value of this deal — $13.75 million — puts him a little bit ahead this year and likely a little bit behind next year.

This past season in Colorado, Story hit .294/.363/.554 with 35 home runs, 85 RBI, 111 runs scored, and 23 stolen bases over 656 trips to the plate. He also continued to rank among the game’s best defensive shortstops. Per FanGraphs, Story’s 10.9 Wins Above Replacement over the last two seasons is fifth-best among shortstops (min. 1,000 PA) behind Alex Bregman, Francisco Lindor, Xander Bogaerts, and Marcus Semien.

With third baseman Nolan Arenado likely on his way out via trade, one wonders if the same fate awaits Story at some point over the next two seasons.