10:10 PM ET, September 2, 2014
Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California
Clayton Kershaw earns majors' best 17th win as Dodgers beat Nationals
Kershaw pitched eight strong innings for his major league-leading 17th win and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Washington Nationals 4-1 Tuesday night.
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Kershaw (17-3) gave up three hits and one run, walked two and struck out eight to win his third straight start and lower his ML-leading ERA to 1.70. He also went 1 for 2 with a run scored at the plate.
"He spoils us, that's for sure," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "He's just so valuable for us."
The Nationals came in with 14 home runs in their previous four games, including four against the Dodgers on Monday.
Kershaw quickly quieted their bats, working through six shutout innings before giving up a solo homer to Bryce Harper in the seventh, his only blip of the night. It was the first homer hit by a lefty against Kershaw this season.
"He just didn't give us any opportunities," Nationals manager Matt Williams said. "That's why he's doing so well. He's just not making any mistakes."
Kershaw retired 12 straight at one point and, with his eight strikeouts, surpassed the 200-strikeout mark for the fifth consecutive season.
Most Seasons with 200 Strikeouts
Only two pitchers in major league history have more 200-strikeout seasons in their first seven seasons than Clayton Kershaw.
|Pitcher||200 K seasons|
|>>Reached 200 K's on Tuesday|
|-- ESPN Stats & Information|
"It's unbelievable how he just hits his spots. It's like a video game, to be honest. It's a joke," rookie Joc Pederson said, according to the Los Angeles Times. Pederson made his first major league start Tuesday after Mattingly decided to give Yasiel Puig a night off.
He joins Hall of Famers Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale and Don Sutton as the only pitchers in franchise history with at least five seasons of 200 strikeouts.
"You always want to be consistent," Kershaw said. "You try to give your team a chance. When you only get to contribute once every five days it's important for the starting pitcher to get some momentum."
Kershaw was also responsible for jump starting the Dodgers offense. He laced a one-out single to center in the fifth, advanced to third on Dee Gordon's single and scored on Adrian Gonzalez's infield single to break a scoreless tie.
"He was impressive all the way around tonight," Mattingly said. "Getting our offense going, going hard first to third on the basepaths, it just shows what a competitor he is."
Jansen came on in the ninth and pitched a hitless frame for his 39th save.
Doug Fister (12-6) took the loss for the Nationals. He went five-plus innings, gave up 10 hits, four runs, walked two and struck out two.
Gonzalez went 2 for 3 with a walk, Carl Crawford and A.J. Ellis both went 2 for 4 and Pederson got his first career hit in his first career start, a bloop single to center in the second inning off Fister.
It's unbelievable how he just hits his spots. It's like a video game, to be honest. It's a joke.- Joc Pederson, on playing center behind Clayton Kershaw (Los Angeles Times)
With the win, the Dodgers (78-61) moved behind the Nationals (78-59) for the National League's best record.
"We needed to get the W tonight," Kershaw said. "It was good to get it."
Nationals: RHP Jordan Zimmermann (10-5, 2.93) hasn't lost since July 11. He is 1-0 in two career starts at Dodger Stadium.
Dodgers: RHP Carlos Frias (0-0, 5.65) will make his first major league start. The 24-year old rookie has allowed 13 hits and nine runs in 14 1/3 innings with the Dodgers this season. He was primarily a starter in Triple-A, going 8-4 with a 5.01 ERA.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 02: Doug Fister #58 of the Washington Nationals pitches against the Los Angeles...(Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Regular Season Series
|5th||A Gonzalez reached on infield single to shortstop, C Kershaw scored, D Gordon scored, A Gonzalez to second on throwing error by shortstop I Desmond.||0||2|
|6th||J Uribe homered to left (406 feet), C Crawford scored.||0||4|
|7th||B Harper homered to right center (416 feet).||1||4|
|View complete Play-By-Play|
|Stadium||Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, CA|
|Attendance||43,352 (77.4% full) - % is based on regular season capacity|
|Weather||76 degrees, clear|
|Umpires||Home Plate - Ted Barrett, First Base - Paul Schrieber, Second Base - Alfonso Marquez, Third Base - Mark Ripperger|
The Nationals could just make some noise if they make the postseason, and it's looking like they certainly will. Their great position in the playoff battle is thanks to a great run over the past month. Since August 6th, nobody has a better record in baseball. A lot of that thanks to Bryce Harper, who is batting over .300 in that stretch.[+]
Best Win Pct Since August 6
ESPN Stats & Information
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