Scott Kazmir Shakes Off Apparent Leg Issue, Chase Utley Leads Dodgers In Win Over Nationals
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The show had to go on for the Los Angeles Dodgers, who entered their series with the Washington Nationals on a two-game losing streak and question marks surrounding the futures of Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu. Kershaw suffered a setback after his simulated game, while Ryu was placed on the 15-day disabled list with left elbow tendinitis.

In positive injury news, Joc Pederson was reinstated from the disabled list and started in center field. The Dodgers didn’t waste any time with Reynaldo Lopez making his Major League debut as Chase Utley led the game off with a solo home run.

Howie Kendrick shot a single into right field, extending his hitting streak to 11 games, and Justin Turner doubled to put two on with no outs. Lopez nearly worked his way out of the jam by retiring Adrian Gonzalez and Yasmani Grandal, but Pederson tacked on a two-run single.

Scott Kazmir worked around a Daniel Murphy two-out bloop double to keep the Dodgers’ 3-0 lead intact through the first inning. Chris Taylor hit a leadoff double in the second inning and moved over to third base on Kazmir’s sacrifice bunt.

Taylor then scored on Utley’s base hit to right field. Kendrick improved to 2-for-2 with a single of his own. Nothing came of it as Lopez struck out Turner and induced Gonzalez into a groundout.

Kazmir allowed a one-out single to Clint Robinson in the bottom of the second but otherwise struck out two batters en route to keeping the Nationals off the board. Lopez brushed off his early struggles and struck out the side in the third inning.

Gonzalez helped his pitcher out in the bottom of the third by reaching into the stands to catch a foul ball for the second out. Ben Revere grounded out to end a quick inning in which Kazmir only threw seven pitches.

Meanwhile, Lopez built on his string of success and retired the Dodgers in order in the fourth, collecting two more strikeouts. While their rookie right-hander was doing his best to keep him in them game, Washington failed to generate any offense in the bottom of the fourth.

Werth struck out a second time on the night as Kazmir set the side down in order. Kendrick drew a leadoff walk in the fifth to snap Lopez’s streak of consecutive batters retired at eight. After Turner followed with base hit, Gonzalez added to the Dodgers’ lead with an RBI single.

Lopez struck out Grandal and Pederson, but gave up an RBI single to Puig. Matt Belisle replaced Lopez and intentionally walked Taylor after Puig stole second base. Kazmir struck out to end the inning and leave the bases loaded.

Kazmir came up hobbling after jumping to field a comebacker and was checked on by the trainer but remained in the game. Three pitches later, he allowed a solo home run to Jose Lobaton. Still appearing to be bothered by something in his right leg, Kazmir struck out Belisle to end the inning.

The Dodgers’ lefty somewhat surprisingly took the mound in the bottom of the sixth and got through another 1-2-3 inning. It was complete with Kazmir needing to test whatever part of his right leg was ailing him as he beat Revere to first base on a grounder to the right side.

Oliver Perez took over for the Nationals in the seventh and retired the Dodgers in order. Werth collected his first hit of the night off Kazmir in the bottom half of the inning, with a double to left-center field.

Werth advanced to third base on a chopper up the middle, where he was stranded as Kazmir struck out Danny Espinosa. Taylor was left standing on second base with no outs in the eighth after Murphy’s throwing error.

Taylor advanced to third base on a passed ball, and pinch-hitter Andrew Toles drew a walk to put runners on first and third. Utley’s RBI single extended the Dodgers’ lead to 7-1 before Blake Treinen could get out of the inning.

Chris Hatcher immediately issued a walk and allowed a single to pinch-hitter Chris Heisey to put two on with no outs in the eighth. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch but it didn’t make much of a difference as Trea Turner hit a two-run triple.

Adam Liberatore replaced Hatcher and struck out pinch-hitter Michael Taylor before giving up an RBI double to Murphy that nearly cleared the wall in center field. Harper grounded out and Werth flied out, ending the eighth with the Dodgers’ lead cut to 7-4.

Grandal provided some insurance with a solo home run in the ninth. Although it wasn’t a save opportunity, Kenley Jansen was called on to finish out the Dodgers’ 8-4 victory. He hit Robinson with a pitch to put the leadoff man on before retiring the next three batters.