Clayton Kershaw wins again as Dodgers down Nationals, 4-1

Clayton Kershaw, Dee Gordon
Dodgers teammates Clayton Kershaw, left, and Dee Gordon celebrate after scoring runs during the fifth inning of the team’s 4-1 win over the Washington Nationals on Tuesday.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)


OK, that’s not really fair, which doesn’t mean it doesn’t feel right.

Clayton Kershaw started for the Dodgers on Tuesday night, so naturally you know what that means: more domination, more pitching brilliance and another victory.

Kershaw pitched -- also hit and ran -- the Dodgers to a 4-1 win over the Washington Nationals before a Dodger Stadium crowd of 43,352.


The victory maintained the Dodgers’ two-game lead over the core-of-the-sun-hot San Francisco Giants in the National League West. The Giants have won seven of their last eight.

Kershaw held the Nationals to one run on three hits and two walks in his eight innings, striking out eight in becoming the major’s first 17-game winner.

The crazy-good numbers just keep piling up for Kershaw (17-3), whose season strikeout total eclipsed the 200 mark for the fifth consecutive season. The only other Los Angeles Dodger to pull that off? A guy named Sandy Koufax.

He also lowered his baseball-best earned-run average to 1.70.


Kershaw allowed a leadoff single in the second to catcher Wilson Ramos and then retired 17 of the next 18 Nationals (allowing one walk) before Bryce Harper hit a solo home run with two outs in the seventh.

By then the Dodgers had built a 4-0 lead, behind some questionable baserunning that turned effective thanks to some shakier Washington defense.

The Dodgers had failed to score against Nationals left-hander Doug Fister (12-6) through four innings when Kershaw hit a one-out single up the middle in the fifth.

When Dee Gordon followed with a single to center in front of Harper, Kershaw challenged his arm and just kept going to third. Harper’s throw was up the line and Gordon took second.

Adrian Gonzalez hit a bouncer into the hole that was run down by shortstop Ian Desmond as Kershaw scored. Gordon mistakenly rounded third and tried to score, too. Anyway, it looked like a mistake. Desmond had Gordon easy, but his relaxed throw sailed over the head of Ramos as the second run scored.

The Dodgers added two more in the sixth. Carl Crawford led off with a single and Juan Uribe drilled his first pitch for a two-run homer and the 4-0 lead.

Kenley Jansen threw a scoreless ninth to pick up his 39th save (in 43 opportunities). He’s made good on 19 of his last 20 save opportunities. He struck out the side in the ninth.

Almost aut-o-matic.


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