With the Nationals trailing the Dodgers 2-0 in the top of the ninth, Adam LaRoche entered the game as a pinch hitter. Nursing a strained lower back, the first baseman was not expected to play.
In his first at-bat, LaRoche tied the game with a clutch two-run homer. Then he added a go-ahead, two-run single in the 12th (which he hit after being struck on the left elbow with a pitch in the 11th) and a run-scoring grounder in the 14th. In all, LaRoche totaled five RBIs in the Nationals' 8-5 victory.
"We had to use Adam even though we didn't want to," Nationals manager Matt Williams told reporters. "He was huge for us, especially hitting that homer in the ninth."
LaRoche became the first player since the Orioles' Harold Baines in 1999 to enter a game in the ninth inning or later and have at least five RBIs, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
Following a disappointing sweep at the hands of the last-place Phillies Aug. 25-27, the Nationals took four of six against the Dodgers and Mariners to maintain their seven-game division lead.
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