The Washington Nationals (58-54) fell to the Los Angeles Dodgers (63-50) 5-0 Tuesday night behind six shutout innings from Zack Greinke (12-2, 1.65 ERA), who earned his 12th win of the year. Joe Ross (3-4, 3.44) took the loss as he allowed the most runs (five) and went the shortest distance (4.2 innings) in a game of his young career. Dodgers’ right fielderYasiel Puig tied a career high, driving in all five of the runs himself. He went 2-for-4 with a home run and a triple.
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With All-Star Bryce Harper scratched from the lineup with a sore knee, the Nationals offense sputtered all night, scattering seven hits across the nine frames. It looked as though they were going to get to Greinke early, when Clint Robinson lead off the second inning with a single, followed by an Ian Desmond with a single of his own two batters later. With runners on first and second with one out, the Nats could not capitalize. Wilson Ramos struck out swinging at a 94 mile per hour fastball right under the hands, and Michael Taylor lined out to Alberto Callaspo at third, who made a nice sweeping grab to take away a hit.
In the third, the Nats once again had runners on first and second, this time with two outs, but Robinson struck out to end the inning. Washington would not send more than four batters to the plate in any inning the rest of the night, struggling to move any runners over. The team as a whole did not have a single extra base hit all night, and no runner ever reached third base. Ryan Zimmerman’s eight game streak of consecutive games with a run driven in was snapped, leaving him tied for the second longest streak in franchise history.
The game had the look of a pitcher’s duel heading into the fourth, with the score locked at 0-0. However, Andre Ethier led off the inning with a triple over Michael Taylor’s head, who made the play interesting with a rocket to third. Originally called out, Ethier and the Dodgers challenged the play, and the call was eventually overturned. Two outs later, Yasiel Puig sent a 1-0 slider into the left center field seats, putting Los Angeles up 2-0.
The Dodgers would add on to their lead in the fifth, loading the bases behind back-to-back singles from Jimmy Rollins and Callaspo, and a Yasmani Grandal walk two outs later. Puig once again stepped into the box with runners in scoring position and two outs, and was able to do what the Nationals offense could not, deliver. Slicing a ball into shallow right field, Robinson was not able to make the sliding catch, sending the ball all the way into the corner. Puig cleared the bases, and found himself standing at third after putting his team up 5-0.
Both bullpens, although known for being shaky, were shutdown Tuesday night. Nationals’ Blake Treinen, Felipe Rivero, and Tanner Roark combined for 3.1 innings, allowing no hits, two walks, and three strikeouts.
As for the Dodgers, they sent out Yimi Garcia for two innings, who was perfect around an Anthony Rendon single in the eighth. Luis Avilan pitched a 1-2-3 ninth and the Nats were handed their eighth loss in their last 12 games. They fall to 2.5 games behind the New York Mets in the National League East, while the Dodgers maintain their 2.5 game lead in the NL West over the San Francisco Giants.
Next Game: The Nationals finish up the three game series with Los Angeles at 10:10 PM ET in L.A. Wednesday night, as Jordan Zimmermann (8-7, 3.44) takes on reigning MVP Clayton Kershaw (9-6, 2.51). You can catch the game on MASN.