The Washington Nationals played the second game of their three game series with the LA Dodgers Tuesday night. It was Clayton Kershaw vs Dan Haren in a game that turned into a pitchers duel. Haren pitched very well, but Kershaw was better, throwing eight and 2/3 shut out innings to stifle the Nats. The Dodgers won 2-0.
With Bryce Harper out of the lineup the day after forgetting he can’t run through fences (eleven stitches in the face) and Kershaw the left hander on the mound, Davey Johnson elected to start with the outfield combination of Steve Lombardozzi in left, Eury Perez in center and Tyler Moore in right, all of whom can or do bat right handed. Danny Espinosa also batted from the right side of the plate, batting leadoff.
The Nationals had their golden opportunity to score runs in the first inning, when they had Kershaw on the ropes but let him wiggle out of a bases loaded jam. With two outs, the Nats started getting to Kershaw. Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond singled, and Adam LaRoche walked to load the bases. Tyler Moore struck out on four pitches, leaving the bases loaded.
Dan Haren pitched seven innings and only gave up two runs. In the bottom of the third inning, Haren grazed Kershaw on the toe with a pitch, putting him on first. Matt Kemp singled, then Haren threw a wild pitch that advanced both runners. Haren struck out Adrian Gonzalez, but Andre Ethier singled, scoring Kershaw and Kemp. This was the only offense the Dodgers produced all night, but with Kershaw on the mound it was enough.
Ryan Mattheus pitched the bottom of the eighth inning for the Nats and was perfect, allowing no hits and no walks.
The Nats threatened again briefly in the ninth inning. Kershaw was tiring, as evidenced by Zimmerman and Desmond hitting deep fly balls for the first two outs. Zimmerman missed a home run by a couple of feet. LaRoche singled, and Don Mattingly had seen enough. He lifted Kershaw for reliever Kenley Jansen, who promptly struck out Moore to end the game.
Ryan Zimmerman proved he owns Kershaw as perhaps no other batter in the majors does. Zimmerman went 3-4 for the night. Adam LaRoche had a hit and drew the only walk Kershaw gave up all night. Other than Desmond’s single, the rest of the Nats offense was O for–no hits and no walks.
Next Game: The final game of the series is played on Wednesday, May 15th. Ross Detwiler (2-3, 2.53 ERA) pitches for the Nationals, while Zach Greinke (1-0, 1.59 ERA) makes his return to the Dodgers after breaking his collarbone earlier in the season in his one round fight with Carlos Quentin.