Scherzer, Zimmerman lead Nats past LA to force Game 5

Nationals 6 Dodgers 1

(Series tied at 2-2)

WASHINGTON — Max Scherzer’s season-saving, seven-inning pitching performance and Ryan Zimmerman’s three-run homer lifted the wild-card Washington Nationals to a 6-1 victory over the league-best Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday to force a deciding Game 5 in their NL Division Series.

Scowling and muttering to himself in his third appearance of this post-season, Scherzer allowed one run and four hits while striking out nine. Most importantly for Washington, he and the Nats prevented LA from closing out the NLDS after taking a 2-1 lead into Game 4.

Game 5 will be Wednesday in Los Angeles, with Stephen Strasburg set to start for the Nationals against Walker Buehler.

The 35-year-old Zimmerman showed what he still can do at the plate by taking a 97 mph pitch, the second thrown by reliever Pedro Báez, and turning it into a high-arching parabola that descended onto the green batter’s eye in straightaway centre field for a three-run shot that made it 5-1.

That was after Julio Urías, the third Los Angeles pitcher and the one charged with the loss, began the fifth by serving up a hard liner by Trea Turner, who finished with three hits. Anthony Rendon delivered a run-scoring single that made it 2-1, one of his three RBIs.

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