Nationals can’t back up Stras­burg, sti­fled by Ker­shaw and Dodgers

The Washington Times Daily - - SPORTS -

LOS AN­GE­LES | Clay­ton Ker­shaw made it sound as if he had a rough day. It looked pretty good to ev­ery­one else.

Ker­shaw out­du­eled Stephen Stras­burg with seven ef­fec­tive in­nings and Yas­mani Gran­dal hit a tiebreak­ing RBI dou­ble, help­ing the Los An­ge­les Dodgers edge the Wash­ing­ton Nationals 2-1 on Wed­nes­day.

Ker­shaw (8-2) al­lowed three hits and struck out nine in his first win since May 17. Pe­dro Baez got two outs be­fore Ken­ley Jansen fin­ished for his 10th save.

But Ker­shaw also walked three and said he was not par­tic­u­larly sharp.

“I didn’t have much to­day in the tank,” he said. “I felt fine, it just wasn’t com­ing out quite the way I wanted to to­day. I felt like I threw a lot of off-speed pitches. That’s good lineup, too. They have a re­ally good team over there. I’m for­tu­nate to get a win.”

Stras­burg (7-2) struck out eight in six in­nings in his first loss since April 29. The ace right-han­der was 5-0 with a 2.75 ERA in his pre­vi­ous six starts.

Ryan Zim­mer­man hit his 17th homer for Wash­ing­ton in the sec­ond, and Stras­burg sailed into the sixth in­ning be­fore run­ning into trou­ble.

“I don’t think we were giv­ing at-bats away,” Dodgers man­ager Dave Roberts said. “I think Stephen was good to­day. He el­e­vated his game.”

Roberts said one of Ker­shaw’s big­gest con­tri­bu­tions came at the plate when he forced Stras­burg to throw nine pitches be­fore ground­ing out in the sixth. Chris Tay­lor fol­lowed with an­other eight­pitch at-bat that ended with an­other ground­out.

“That was huge,” Dodgers short­stop Corey Sea­ger said. “(Ker­shaw) got his pitch count up a lit­tle bit and then (Tay­lor) did the same thing. It’s hard to throw when you have those long in­nings like that. Even­tu­ally you’ll make a mis­take.”

Sea­ger con­nected on one, hit­ting a drive to cen­ter for his eighth homer. Stras­burg came back to strike out Adrian Gon­za­lez, but strike three got by catcher Jose Lo­ba­ton and Gon­za­lez reached on the passed ball.

Af­ter Gon­za­lez ad­vanced on a wild pitch, Gran­dal lined a dou­ble past div­ing left fielder Ryan Raburn for a 2-1 lead.

“When you’re play­ing close games like that against a great pitcher — two great pitch­ers — there’s usu­ally a mis­take

here, a mis­take that’s the dif­fer­ence in the game,” Nationals man­ager Dusty Baker said.

In a re­match of last year’s NL Divi­sion Se­ries, won by Los An­ge­les in five games, the NL-lead­ing Nationals took two of three from the Dodgers.

“We feel pretty good,” Baker said. “We cer­tainly would have wanted this one. But they’re tough to sweep here.”

The Nationals had a chance to tie it in the eighth, but the Dodgers wig­gled out of the jam.

Trea Turner led off with a triple off the cen­ter-field wall. But Ray­burn struck out and Baez snagged a hot come­backer from Bryce Harper to catch Turner in a run­down. Jansen then re­tired Zim­mer­man on an­other come­backer.

It was Jansen’s fifth four-plus out save of the year.

“He’s had three days off, this was a big game and we have a day off to­mor­row,” Roberts said. “It made sense.”

Roberts ini­tially was go­ing to let Ker­shaw pitch into the eighth, and let him hit in the sev­enth. In­stead, he went to Baez.

“He didn’t have his best stuff and those guys were tak­ing some good swings,” Roberts said. “As I thought through it, I changed my mind.”

The Nationals went 7-2 on their ninegame West Coast trip to San Fran­cisco, Oak­land and Los An­ge­les.

“If some­body had told you when we left home, ‘You’ll go 7-2,’ I’m sure ev­ery­one would be more than sat­is­fied,” Baker said. “But when it could have been 8-1 — not sat­is­fy­ing.”

The Nationals re­turn home Thurs­day to play a makeup game against the Orioles. Right-han­der Joe Ross (2-2) will try to re­cover from two con­sec­u­tive poor starts.


Wash­ing­ton Nationals short­stop Trea Turner is caught be­tween third and home on a ball hit by out­fielder Bryce Harper as Los An­ge­les Dodgers catcher Yas­mani Gran­dal and third base­man Lo­gan Forsythe chase him dur­ing the eighth in­ning on Wed­nes­day. Turner was tagged out at home on the play to end a po­ten­tial rally in a 2-1 loss.

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