WASHINGTON -- A two-run double by Tony Gwynn helped the Dodgers defeat the Nationals, 7-4, in what was supposed to be the first game of a doubleheader on Thursday at Nationals Park. The nightcap was postponed after rain made the field unplayable.
The game was tied at 4 in the ninth inning when the Dodgers rallied against closer Drew Storen. With two outs and runners on first and second, Gwynn hit the ball over the head of center fielder Jayson Werth, scoring Jerry Sands and Rod Barajas.
Dee Gordon followed and singled to center, plating Gwynn. After walking Jamey Carroll, Storen was taken out of the game in favor of right-hander Collin Balester, who was able to stop the bleeding by getting Matt Kemp to fly out to right field to end the inning.
Manager Davey Johnson said a lack of action was at the root of Storen's ineffectiveness. Since Aug. 22, Storen has appeared in just three games.
"He didn't have good command today," Johnson said. "He has logged a lot of games. He is going to have some rough spots at times. This is his first full year. I can deal with that."
Right-hander Chien-Ming Wang started the game for the Nationals and received a no-decision. He continues to make progress and has looked more like the pitcher who won 38 games for the Yankees in 2006-07. Wang lasted six innings, allowing four runs on seven hits.
The right-hander got off to a slow start against Los Angeles. In the first inning, the Dodgers scored two runs on a two-run double by Juan Rivera.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said he put Rivera in the game because the outfielder was 2-for-3 with two RBIs in his career against Wang.
"We only had a couple of guys that faced Chien-Ming before and Juan was one of them. [His numbers] jumped at me, so I had to keep him in there," Mattingly said.
Two innings later, Rivera made it a four-run game. With runners on first and second and one out, Rivera hit what looked like a routine fly ball to left fielder Michael Morse. It looked like Morse had a bead on it, but he misjudged the flight of the ball and it went over his head for a two-run double.
Johnson said a lack of experience in left field played a role in Morse misplaying the ball. Since joining the Nationals, Morse has played most of his games in right field and at first base.
"He hasn't been out there a whole lot," Johnson said. "A bullet was hit at him. He misread it, he came in a little bit. That's the one you really take two steps back. It was a bullet, and somewhat misplayed."
After the slow start, Wang retired 10 out of the last 11 hitters he faced. Johnson said Wang could have gone deeper, but he was taken of the game as part of an effort to get the offense going. That didn't work, as pinch-hitter Laynce Nix popped up to Gordon at shortstop.
"I thought he had a great sinker, much more so than his last outing," Johnson said about Wang. "His delivery was a lot sounder. As far as I was concerned, it was a good outing."
The Nationals were able to get Wang off the hook by tying the game in the third inning off right-hander Chad Billingsley. Ian Desmond scored on a double by Ryan Zimmerman, and Zimmerman came home on a double by Morse to cut the Dodgers' lead to 4-2.
Jayson Werth followed and tied the score at 4 with a two-run homer. Billingsley ended up pitching 2 1/3 innings while giving up the four runs on five hits.
However, the Nationals were held hitless the rest of the way. Johnson felt his club should have done more damage against Billingsley. For example, in the second inning, Washington had the bases loaded with two outs, but Wang struck out.
"We have been hot and cold with the bats. We should have jumped on him more," Johnson said. What did we get, three doubles, a single, and a home run? That was it for us."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.