Washington Nationals Struggle Against Kershaw In 4-1 Loss

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Jun 20, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA;Washington Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy (20) is out at first while covered by Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw (22) during the second inning at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 20, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA;Washington Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy (20) is out at first while covered by Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw (22) during the second inning at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports /
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Yusmeiro Petit filled in well for Stephen Strasburg, but the Washington Nationals lost the series opener to the Dodgers

Tonight, the Washington Nationals got bad news before their game against the Los Angeles Dodgers when Stephen Strasburg was scratched because of an upper back strain. Despite Yusmeiro Petit putting up a good effort as a spot starter, the Washington Nationals offense couldn’t do much against Clayton Kershaw as the Dodgers won the series opener, 4-1.

Right out of the gate, the Dodgers scored the first run of the night against Petit. With two outs, Justin Turner crushed a solo home run to dead center field to give Los Angeles a 1-0 lead. It was Turner’s tenth home run of the season.

Turner would drive in the Dodgers’ second run in the bottom of the fourth inning. After Corey Seager led off the inning with a double, Turner singled into right to score Seager and extended the lead to 2-0. One inning later, Joc Pederson led off the fifth with a solo home run to right, his 13th of the season, to put the Dodgers ahead, 3-0.

All in all, it wasn’t a bad game for Petit. He went six innings, gave up the three runs on five hits, struck out five, and walked one on 94 pitches (60 strikes) in the loss. Petit did have success against Kershaw at the plate when he singled in the third for the Washington Nationals first hit of the night.

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The best inning that the Washington Nationals offense had against Kershaw was in the top of the seventh. Daniel Murphy led off the seventh with a single and Wilson Ramos singled two batters later (Ryan Zimmerman went to third). With runners on the corners, Anthony Rendon singled to right to get the Nats on the board.

In that inning, the Nats had to settle for the one run because Danny Espinosa and Chris Heisey (pinch-hitting for Petit) both flew out to left and Kershaw out of trouble. The Dodgers ace went seven innings, gave up one run on six hits, and struck out eight on 106 pitches (75 strikes) as he won his 11th game of the season. Three of Kershaw’s eight strikeouts came against Bryce Harper.

Even though the Washington Nationals scored a run in the top of the seventh, they gave it right back in the bottom of the inning. Oliver Perez elected to intentionally walk pinch-hitter Enrique Hernandez with two outs to get to left-handed hitting Chase Utley. However, Utley made him pay with a base hit to center that drove in Howie Kendrick (doubled to lead off the inning).

Next: Daily: Strasburg Scratched From Monday's Start

Next Game: The Washington Nationals (43-28) will play the second game of their three game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers (39-33) tomorrow night. You can watch the game at 10:10 p.m. ET on MASN. Tanner Roark (6-4, 3.14 ERA) will get the start for the Nats against Scott Kazmir (5-3, 4.64) for the Dodgers.

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