WASHINGTON -- The wind was blowing in at 24 miles-per-hour from left field at the start of Sunday's game, and Washington catcher Jose Lobaton pointed this out to home plate umpire Chris Guccione.
"Wow, that wind is really bad for hitters," said Lobaton, a reserve most of the season behind starter Wilson Ramos.
But Lobaton, a switch-hitter batting on a rare occasion from the right side, was able to blast a three-run homer through the wind to left field in the fourth inning for a 3-2 lead, and Daniel Murphy added three hits and two RBIs as the Washington Nationals beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-2 in Game 2 of the National League Division Series.
"I think I hit it really good," Lobaton said of the homer off starter and loser Rich Hill. "When it went out it was like, 'That is pretty cool.' I think everyone is going to feel good (going to Los Angeles). That is what we wanted."
Game 3 will be Monday in Los Angeles with the series tied at one game each.
Ramos tore his ACL the last week of the regular season and now Lobaton and rookie Pedro Severino, who started Game 1, are splitting catching duties.
"Losing Willie is tough for us," Lobaton said. "He is my friend. It is part of the game. We have to keep going forward. I have to try and do something for the team. I didn't try to hit a homer and I got a homer."
Lobaton now has three postseason hits and two of them are homers.
"He hammered that ball. He got a breaking ball up the zone," said Murphy, who was on second when Lobaton went deep. "He does a great job of coming to work every day. No matter when he gets in there he puts up quality at-bats. It was just a massive swing."
Said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts: "You know the wind was blowing in, and you've got to click it to get it out. It was an elevated breaking ball, and again, he put a good swing on it."
"A game saver," Murphy said.
Another game changer was the Nationals bullpen, which recorded 14 outs and gave up just one hit after starter Tanner Roark was pulled after 4 1/3 innings and giving up two runs.
"They came through big time for us," said Trea Turner, the center fielder who had two hits.
Roberts agreed, noting the shadows may have helped the Washington relievers.
"We had Roark on the ropes and I think it was through five innings we left 11 guys on base," he said. "We stressed him, and we had an opportunity to really him put him away early. You know, we had the bases loaded, so we had some opportunities, just didn't capitalize. Afterward they get the pen in there and then the shadows start creeping and it gets to be a tougher visual."
Nationals left-handed reliever Sammy Solis retired Adrian Gonzalez on a fly to left to end the top of the sixth with two runners on base. Winning pitcher Blake Treinen retired all four batters he faced, lefty Oliver Perez sat down both batters he saw in the eighth and closer Mark Melancon pitched the ninth for the save.
Murphy had an RBI single in the seventh to make it 5-2 as he drove in Jayson Werth, who had doubled with two outs off Grant Dayton.
Murphy had an RBI single to drive in Turner in the fifth to give the Nationals a 4-2 and drive Dodgers starter and Game 2 loser Hill out of the game.
The Dodgers loaded the bases for the third time in the game in the fifth inning. But pinch-hitter Kendrick lined out to left as lefty reliever Marc Rzepczynski escaped the jam.
Lobaton, a switch-hitter with little power from the right side, went deep on a curveball from Hill in the fourth to give the Nationals a 3-2 lead.
"I feel great for him. He has been battling that ankle injury," Roark said of his catcher.
Lobaton last hit a postseason home run on a walk-off homer for Tampa Bay against Boston in Game 3 of the 2013 ALDS.
Hill struck out seven and yielded six hits and four runs in 4 1/3 innings. Reddick had two hits for the Dodgers, including an RBI single in the third to make it 2-0.
On the second pitch of the game, Roark threw a pitch near the head of Corey Seager. Then on a 3-0 count Seager, hit a solo homer into the seats in right to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead. Seager also homered in the first inning of Game 1 on Friday.
But the homer by Lobaton was the difference Sunday.
"He stays ready all the time," said Dusty Baker, the Washington manager. "He'll probably be starting against (Kenta) Maeda catching Gio (Gonzalez) tomorrow. Boy just keep it coming."
NOTES: Dodgers LHP Rich Hill previously started at Nationals Park was May 22, 2009, when he was with the Baltimore Orioles. He last pitched in the playoffs in 2007 with the Chicago Cubs, one year after he played for manager Dusty Baker with the Cubs. Baker is in his first year as the Washington manager. ... Baker played for the Dodgers from 1976-83 and hit a career-high 30 homers in 1977. ... Washington 1B coach Davey Lopes stole a career-high 77 bases while playing for the Dodgers in 1975. ... Washington RHP Tanner Roark, the Sunday starter, last threw in the playoffs out of the bullpen for the Nationals in 2014. He came out of the bullpen in Game 2 of the NLDS and gave up the game-winning homer to 1B Brandon Belt of the San Francisco Giants in the 18th inning in Washington. ... Washington RHP Tanner Roark was the losing pitcher on June 21 at Los Angeles as the Dodgers won 3-2. ... Dodgers RHP Kenta Maeda (16-11, 3.48 ERA) will face Nationals LHP Gio Gonzalez (11-11, 4.57 ERA) in Game 3 on Monday in Los Angeles.