Offense Picks Up Clayton Kershaw Late, Dodgers Avoid Being Swept By Nationals
Offense Picks Up Clayton Kershaw Late, Dodgers Avoid Being Swept By Nationals
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The sun was a late arrival at Dodger Stadium and so too was the Los Angeles Dodgers offense, albeit it with some assistance. But late is better than never, and with that the Dodgers avoided being swept at home by the Washington Nationals.

One day after Max Scherzer set a season high with 14 strikeouts, Stephen Strasburg became the next Nationals right-hander to stifle the Dodgers. He allowed just one hit — and Adrian Gonzalez two-out single in the first — through five shutout innings.

Strasburg retired 12 in a row before surrendering a game-tying solo home run to Corey Seager in the sixth. That came after Clayton Kershaw (nine pitches) and Chris Taylor (eight) stressed Strasburg before each grounded out.

Adrian Gonzalez struck out swinging but reached on the passed ball. He advanced to second base on a wild pitch, and scored on Yasmani Grandal’s RBI double that fell just out of Ryan Raburn’s diving attempt in left-center field.

Prior to that point, the Dodgers’ only threat against Strasburg came when a Michael Taylor error left Chase Utley at third base with two outs in the second inning. He was stranded when Yasiel Puig lined out.

Suddenly given a 2-1 lead, Kershaw retired the side in order in the seventh. He batted for himself in the bottom half of the inning, but was replaced by Pedro Baez to start the eight.

The only run Kershaw allowed came on a first-pitch Ryan Zimmerman homer in the second inning. The home run was Zimmerman’s 17th this season, which leads the National League.

In some part due to getting squeezed, Kershaw issued three walks, though did collect nine strikeouts. He was removed at 95 pitches. The curious decision to bring in Baez nearly proved catastrophic as he was greeted by a Trea Turner leadoff triple.

Baez struck out Raburn, then had luck on his side as a stab at a bullet hit up the middle resulted in Turner being caught in a rundown. Kenley Jansen retired Zimmerman in the eighth and worked around a Daniel Murphy leadoff single and stolen base in the ninth to record his fifth four-out save of the season.

In addition to avoiding being swept in a rematch of the 2016 NL Division Series, the Dodgers snapped a three-game losing streak.