Unlikely hero Jose Lobaton’s three-run homer evens Nats and Dodgers in NLDS

The breeze that gusted in from left field Sunday afternoon hit the Washington Nationals with cruel reality as Jose Lobaton stepped to the plate in the fourth inning of Game 2 of the National League Division Series. Their aces had struggled. Their offense had faltered. Their weaknesses had been exposed, and their strengths sat dormant. Los Angeles Dodgers starter Rich Hill, who had not been good enough to make their roster in 2015, was good enough to embarrass them with curveball after curveball. A cross-country flight and a two-game deficit loomed. Then Lobaton, of all people, took a mighty swing. The ball flew high to left, and curses flew around the dugout because almost everyone thought the wind was sure to knock it down. But Lobaton’s blast sliced through the breeze and landed in the Dodgers’ bullpen, giving the Nationals their first lead of the series. The script flipped on that swing, which lifted them to a 5-2 victory that was preserved by their bullpen, which did some postseason script-flipping itself. [Gio Gonzalez embracing the opportunity in crucial Game 3] “A couple guys in the dugout were like, wow, maybe that moment wasn’t windy,” Lobaton said. “Maybe that moment it just stopped and gave me something extra.”