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Hairston Grand Slam Ends Suspense In Dodgers' 7-2 Loss To Nationals

A grand slam by Jerry Hairston Jr. in the top of the ninth inning blew open a close game, sending the Dodgers to a 7-2 loss at the hands of the Nationals in the opening game of a nine-game homestand Friday night at Dodger Stadium. However, the way the Dodgers offense is going, it's not like they would have come back from a 3-2 deficit anyway. The Dodgers have scored 15 runs in seven games since the All-Star break.

Hiroki Kuroda had a rough start to the game, allowing a run in the first inning, then two more in the second inning on a home run by Nats' hurler John Lannan. It was the first career home run for Lannan, who also singled in the game. Not bad for a guy who was 0-for-32 on the season before his last start, and now has back-to-back two-hit games to his credit.

Kuroda recovered from his early troubles to pitch into the seventh inning, retiring eight in a row at one point. With three runs allowed in 6 1/3 innings, Kuroda pitched a quality start for the 13th time in 20 starts this season. After Kuroda left with runners on first and second base, Scott Elbert and Kenley Jansen each retired the one batter they faced in the seventh to get out of the inning unscathed.

The Dodgers used three relievers in the ninth inning to try to stay within a one-run deficit, but all three struggled. Mike MacDougal allowed a leadoff double to Rick Ankiel and also walked a batter. Hong-Chih Kuo faced one batter, and walked him, to load the bases. Then, Matt Guerrier entered and served up a home run to Hairston to put the game away.

For more news and information on the Dodgers, or on tonight's game, be sure to read the SB Nation blog True Blue LA.