In a tightly contested NLDS Game 4 on Tuesday afternoon, the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Washington Nationals, 6-5. The game was an elimination game for the Dodgers, and now the teams will play on Thursday for the right to move on to the National League Championship Series.

Chase Utley's late heroics

Headed into the 8th inning, the game was tied at 5-all, and it seemed as if the score would remain that way with two outs on the Dodgers in the bottom of the inning. Then, relative unknown Andrew Toles was hit by a pitch and Andre Ethier singled to left field, bringing up Chase Utley.

Down on a 1-2 count with a strike signalling the end of the inning, Utley managed to sent the ball to right field.

Toles came around from second base to score, giving the Dodgers the win and the Nationals (and pitcher Blake Treinen) the loss.

The pitching matchup

The teams didn't announce their starting pitchers until yesterday. It was of little surprise that Dodgers manager decided to go with Clayton Kershaw, even on short rest, as he's arguably the best pitcher in baseball. The Nationals went with Joe Ross, a talented pitcher with shoulder problems that have prevented him from going deep into games.

With those facets in mind, the pitching battle went as expected. Kershaw threw 11 strikeouts in 6.2 innings, giving up just two runs but leaving the bases loaded in the seventh. The Nationals capitalized on a tired bullpen and brought home all three of those runs, tying up the game.

Ross struggled much more, giving up four runs (including a two-run homer to Adrian Gonzalez in the first inning) and failing to make it out of the third inning, forcing manager Dusty Baker to tax his bullpen.

Dodgers closer Kanley Jansen collected his second save of the NLDS.

Looking ahead

The winner takes all on Thursday afternoon at 5:00 ET, as the teams will play for the right to face either the Chicago Cubs or the San Francisco Giants in the next round.

The Nationals are expected to start Cy Young contender Max Scherzer, while the Dodgers will throw midseason acquisition Rich Hill, who struggled mightily earlier in the series.

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