Baseball, such a stupid game. Such an impossible, wonderful, completely insane game.
It was all that and still more on a surreal Wednesday afternoon at Dodger Stadium. It wasn’t one game, it was about seven. Had more twists than 10 Agatha Christie mysteries and was longer than a Russian novel.
Rookies throwing lights out, bench guys going huge, overused closers, major manager second-guessing, bad hop singles to put one team ahead and balls lost in the sun to bring the other back, both in the ninth, and then both teams scoring twice in the 12th inning.
And then finally, the Nationals winning it on three unearned runs in the 14th inning, 8-5, before what was left of an announced crowd of 38,404.
The Giants also lost Wednesday, so the Dodgers maintained their two-game lead in the National League West, but a sweet opportunity to expand their lead was wasted.
A Justin Turner error opened the final door in the 14th. A Kevin Correia walk and wild pitch preceded an Adam LaRoche groundout to score the winning run. Asdrubal Cabrera added a two-run homer just for security purposes.
The Nationals thought they had finally won this messy affair when LaRoche -- whose two-run, pinch-hit homer originally tied the game in the ninth -- singled in a pair of runs in the 12th.
But with two outs in the bottom of the 12th, Carl Crawford hit a stunning two-run homer. It was the game that was never going to end.
The Dodgers missed out on two bases-loaded opportunities to win the game earlier in extra innings, which more than not, tends to be their way.
In the 10th, A.J. Ellis walked with one out and Dee Gordon singled him to second. With the winning run at second in the form of the less-than-fleet Ellis, Manager Don Mattingly did not elect to call on a pinch runner from his expanded September roster.
When Yasiel Puig singled to right, Ellis was held at third. Then Mattingly sent Erisbel Arruebarrena in to run for Ellis. Too late, as both Adrian Gonzalez and Juan Uribe struck out.
In the 11th, the Dodgers loaded the bases again with one out, but Drew Butera popped up and Gordon struck out. This season the Dodgers are a stunning 17-for-99 (.172) with the bases loaded, the worst in the majors.
Everyone understands how much Mattingly loves closer Kenley Jansen, though Jansen may have received a bit too much love Wednesday. Just some 16 hours after earning a save Tuesday night, the Dodgers called on Jansen to protect a 2-0 lead. To make it even more challenging, Mattingly asked him to make it a four-out save.
Thirty-two pitches later, Jansen and the Dodgers trailed 3-2. Jansen gave up a leadoff single to Bryce Harper in the ninth and that two-run homer to LaRoche that tied it.
Then came a single, stolen base and a sharp one-hop bouncer that Gonzalez could not field at first base that was ruled a hit for Denard Span to drive in the go-ahead run.
Yet in the bottom of the inning, the baseball gods -- or sun god? -- came to their rescue. Pinch-hitter Andre Ethier walked and scored when Jayson Werth lost Turner’s routine fly to right in the sun and dropped it for what was ruled an error.
Almost forgotten was an outstanding first major-league start for the Dodgers by Carlos Frias.
Frias, 24, allowed only three hits and a walk in six scoreless innings, striking out four. He retired his last 10 consecutive batters.
The 6-foot-4, 170-pound Frias needed to be effective because Washington’s Jordan Zimmermann pretty much dominated the Dodgers in six scoreless innings on his own.
The Dodgers finally broke through with a two-run homer by Turner in the seventh. Turner thought he was hit by a pitch in the at-bat and the Dodgers challenged the call. Turns out, they were fortunate it was not overtuned.
For Turner, who came to camp as a non-roster invitee, it was his career-best fifth home run this season.
The game took five hours and 34 minutes (the eighth longest game in team history), needed a combined 18 pitchers and 51 (corrected) overall players.