This is the city. Washington, July 19. We are on assignment. The details of the case:
• Bryce Harper tags up at second base to try to advance to third base on a fly ball. Yasiel Puig catches the ball and throws it. The throw is high, hard and accurate. Juan Uribe tags Harper before Harper reaches the base. Umpire rules Harper safe. No citation issued.
• Harper scores one batter later on a wild pitch. Coincidence, we are asked to believe. The batter, Ian Desmond, doubles to cover up the crime.
• Hanley Ramirez hits two-run homer in third inning off Stephen Strasburg – to put Dodgers ahead, 2-1. Vigilante justice.
• Nationals load bases against Ricky Nolasco with none out in bottom of fourth, but none score. Dodgers put on six baserunners combined in first, second and fourth innings, but none score. Tit for tat.
• Puig hits sky-high fly to the wall in left field to lead off the top of the fifth. Harper catches it.
• Jayson Werth gets a one-out, two-strike hit in the bottom of the sixth to put runners at first base and third. Desmond hits a bloop single to center field to tie the game. Runs keep scoring with Desmond at the plate. Investigating connection.
• Jose Dominguez relieves Nolasco. He induces Dodgers’ third double play in the first six innings to prevent further damage in the sixth.
• Puig (0 for 4) disappears with a Washington runner on second base and two out in the bottom of the seventh. APB is issued. Surveillance footage reveals Puig made spectacular catch running into padded wall in right-field foul territory.
• With two out and none on in the bottom of the eighth, Don Mattingly removes Paco Rodriguez, who has retired all four batters he has faced on 15 pitches (including a Harper strikeout), to put in Ronald Belisario to face Werth. The aforementioned Mattingly double-switches Puig out of the game in the process, replacing him with one Jared Michael “Skip” Schumaker. In short, Mattingly has sacrificed Puig out of a fear that Rodriguez will give up a run with two out and the bases empty. Inside job afoot?
• Werth flies out against Belisario to end the eighth inning. But the mystery remains.
• Andre Ethier golfs solo tiebreaking home run in ninth inning off reliever Rafael Soriano. It is Ethier’s first home run in 107 at-bats since June 11. Where did his power go? Why did it suddenly return. The timing is eerily timely.
• Kenley Jansen replaces Belisario and strikes out Wilson Ramos to end a perfect ninth inning and the game.
It was a tense case. But the Dodgers were ruled the winners of the game. The Nationals were sentenced to defeat. Los Angeles will sleep peacefully tonight.