Nearing their first playoff berth since arriving in Washington, the Nationals scratched out a 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the opening game of a doubleheader Wednesday, supporting Jordan Zimmermann's six innings of one-run pitching with two RBI groundouts and a sac fly.
The Nats win means the Dodgers lost, and that put the San Francisco Giants Magic number to 6.
The Giants could see that number fall to 4 if the Giants win tonight against the Rockies AND the Dodgers lose the second game of the double header to the Nationals.
If all Giants wins and Dodger loses continue to fall the Giants' way, San Francisco will clinch a playoff birth on Friday.
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The D.C. win was also big in the nation's capitol. It was the Nationals' 90th, the most for a Major League Baseball club in the nation's capital since 1933= also the last time a D.C. team played beyond the regular season.
NOTES: Playing two days after getting a cortisone shot for a painful left shoulder, Washington 2B Danny Espinosa made a couple of fine sliding, spinning plays to record groundouts. He also singled in each of his first two at-bats. ... Dodgers LF Shane Victorino stole two bases to raise his season total to 37, tying a career high. ... Nationals manager Davey Johnson said offseason surgery to clean out Zimmerman's shoulder ``will definitely be seriously considered.'' Rizzo said that if Zimmerman does have an operation, ``He'd certainly be ready for whenever spring training begins.'' ... Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said LHP Clayton Kershaw (sore right hip) has started to play catch. Kershaw won't pitch in a game until he throws off a mound, which hasn't been scheduled yet. ... Mattingly said he would have preferred to play at 10 p.m. Tuesday night, if possible, rather than a doubleheader Wednesday. ``Trying to win two in one day is tough,'' he said.