WASHINGTON (AP) - Too bad the Washington Nationals couldn't hop on the plane and follow the Los Angeles Dodgers to sunny California.
The Nationals lost a series to the Dodgers this week, and what a messy one it was. It rained Tuesday, nearly ruining Stephen Strasburg's comeback game. It rained Wednesday. It rained Thursday. OK, Monday was fine, but that seems like a long time ago.
Somewhere in between, there were three games played, including a 7-4 Dodgers win Thursday afternoon before another round of torrents canceled the nightcap of a doubleheader.
Oh, and did we mention that the Nationals have also recently experienced hurricane-related weather and an earthquake - the latter of which is actually much more common in Dodgerland?
``It's been a pretty active weather season,' Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said, ``when you talk about earthquakes, hurricanes and downpour of rains for days and days at a time.'
The doubleheader was necessitated because Wednesday's game was postponed after four hours of on-again, off-again drama involving the Major League Baseball front office, which would prefer to see every team play a full 162 games.
But postponed it was, so the teams returned Thursday to try to play two. They got the first one in, but the second one won't be made up unless it's needed at the end of the season to determine a playoff race, an unlikely scenario.
``I thought we did a good job of getting in as many games as we could,' Rizzo said.
In the game that was played, Tony Gwynn hit a tiebreaking double in the ninth inning off Drew Storen (6-3), part of a sour outing in what has otherwise been an excellent first full season in the majors for the Nationals closer.
Entering the game with the score tied at 4, Storen got an out, hit Jerry Sands, allowed a single to Rod Barajas before striking out Trent Oeltjen. Gwynn hit a long double to center to score Sands and Barajas. Dee Gordon added a run-scoring single - setting a career high with his fourth hit of the game.
Storen has 34 saves and five blown chances.
``He hasn't had a lot of regular work the last part of the year,' Washington manager Davey Johnson said. ``We haven't had a whole lot of leads - so his work has been spotty. Sometimes that causes some command problems.'
The loss dropped the Nationals to a season-low 11 games under .500.
Mike MacDougal (3-1), the Dodgers' sixth pitcher, worked a scoreless eighth for the win and Javy Guerra got the last three outs for his 16th save. Six Los Angeles relievers held Washington hitless over the last 6 2-3 innings.
Juan Rivera hit two-run doubles in the first and third off Chien-Ming Wang to give the Dodgers a 4-0 lead.
Wang allowed four runs in six innings.
``I was very pleased. He was strong at the end,' Johnson said. ``I'm not going to too much longer with him. He's making progress.'
In his eighth start since missing more than two seasons with shoulder woes, Wang is trying to get into a quicker rhythm. He's allowed many of his runs in the first inning.
``I'm going to try to get the warmup done earlier and get myself in a game situation earlier,' Wang said through a translator.
NOTES: Johnson said he was resting 2B Danny Espinosa, who this week set a team record with seven straight strikeouts, because he was mentally tired. Stephen Lombardozzi got his first major league start. ... C Ivan Rodriguez, who was on the disabled list for nearly two months with an oblique strain, will be limited to pinch-hitting for the remainder of the season. Johnson wants to see more of Wilson Ramos and Jesus Flores. ... Nats prospect Bryce Harper, who has a strained hamstring, won't play in the Eastern League playoffs. ... Washington begins a three-game series with Houston on Friday. LHP Tom Milone (0-0), who hit a home run on his first major league pitch last Saturday, will pitch against RHP Bud Norris (6-9). ... Ross Detwiler, who was scheduled to pitch Thursday's second game, will have his turn skipped in the rotation.
AP freelance writer Rich Dubroff contributed to this report.
Joseph White can be reached at http://twitter.com/JGWhiteAP
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