With Clayton Kershaw making his return to the mound, the Los Angeles Dodgers wasted little time in getting the ball to their ace. Making his MLB debut with the Washington Nationals, Blake Treinen allowed a single to Carl Crawford that he quickly erased by getting Hanley Ramirez to hit into a double play. If there were any questions whether or not Kershaw was healthy, he quickly laid them to rest. Eleven of Kershaw’s 12 pitches in the first inning were strikes as he allowed only a two-out single to Jayson Werth.
Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier opened the second with back-to-back singles, which was followed by a Juan Uribe double play that put Kemp on third base with two outs. The all too familiar struggles with men in scoring position continued as Scott Van Slyke grounded out to end the top of the inning. Scott Hairston hit a lead-off single in the bottom of the second, but the game would remain scoreless through two.
Both sides were retired in order in the third inning, with Kershaw picking up his second and third strikeouts of the game. Kemp reached on a two-out infield single in the fourth, but Ethier then lined out to center and the inning was over. Anthony Rendon and Werth hit consecutive singles to put runners on first and second with no outs in the bottom of the fourth. The runners were left stranded however, as Kershaw appeared to be in midseason form, first getting a foul out and then back-to-back strikeouts to up his total to five.
Kershaw sparked the Dodgers’ effort to break the scoreless tie by reaching on a Treinen error to start the sixth. Dee Gordon followed by beating Treinen to the bag on a chopper hit to Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche. Crawford then loaded the bases on a little roller up the first base line. Ramirez was the first batter of the inning to get the ball out of the infield, as he gave the Dodgers a 1-0 lead with an RBI single to right. Ethier hit into a fielder’s choice that scored another run and Uribe hit an RBI single to left that extended the lead to 3-0.
Rendon attempted to start a Nationals rally in the bottom half of the sixth with a lead-off single. Kershaw picked off Rendon in a play that loomed large as the Nationals hit two more singles. The reigning Cy Young Award winner got out of the inning with the three-run lead intact by striking out Hairston and Ian Desmond. Gordon hit a two-out triple in the seventh and scored on a Hairston error on a Crawford fly ball.
Ramirez committed an error in the bottom of the seventh that allowed Danny Espinosa to reach safely, but he redeemed himself by initiating a 6-4-3 double play. Kershaw’s evening came to a close with his ninth strikeout of the game. With Ross Detwiler on the mound, Ramirez led off the eighth inning with a solo home run to center that put the Dodgers ahead, 5-0. The scoring continued after Detwiler issued a walk to Kemp, which was followed by Ethier reaching on an infield single, and capped off with a Drew Butera hit a three-run homer.
Chris Perez took over in the bottom of the eighth for Kershaw and allowed a triple to Rendon, who was the first batter he faced. Werth gave the Nationals their first run of the game on an RBI single to left. Perez allowed two more runs after loading the bases and he was then lifted in favor of Jamey Wright. The veteran reliever got Span to hit back to the box and the Dodgers took a five-run lead to the ninth.
Aaron Barrett pitched the ninth and allowed singles to Crawford and Ramirez with one out, but nothing else. Kenley Jansen relieved Wright in the ninth for his first work in five days. The rest appeared to have done Jansen well, as he struck out Rendon, then got Werth to fly out and Tyler Moore to ground out and the Dodgers won, 8-3.
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