Chris Capuano, James Loney lead Dodgers to sweep of Nationals

Dodgers first baseman watches his two-run single head toward center field as he follows through on his swing in the sixth inning Sunday against the Nationals.
(Chris Carlson / Associated Press)

Not to distance themselves too much from last year –- wait, is that possible? –- the Dodgers are doing things in April they could barely do all of last season.

The Dodgers knocked off the Washington Nationals on Sunday, 2-0, Chris Capuano leading the pitching and James Loney driving in both runs to complete a three-game sweep.

The Dodgers have now swept three teams this season, matching their entire total from last season. The victory left them a league-best 16-6, and at no time last season were they 10 games over .500.

The 16-6 start is their best since 1981, when not to carried away, they did happen to win the World Series.

After roaring to a strong start against the National League’s weaker teams, the Dodgers ended a homestand that was supposed to be more of a test at 4-2. They are now a league-best 10-2 at home.

And after all, Don Mattingly said before the game about how Javy Guerra was still his closer, it was Kenley Jansen who came in to earn the save. When Jansen threw six consecutive balls to start the ninth inning, however, Guerra started warming up in the bullpen.

Capuano raised his record to 3-0, throwing 6 2/3 scoreless innings while striking out nine. He gave up only three hits and two walks, and was in command throughout.

Josh Lindblom threw another scoreless 1 1/3 innings, before Jansen recovered to earn his second save.

The game was scoreless through five innings, Capuano and Washington’s Gio Gonzalez locked in another early pitching duel.

For Gonzalez, throwing blanks was old news. Since surrendering four runs in the 3 2/3 innings of his first start, he had been almost unhittable. Gonzalez had not allowed a run in his last three starts.

That finally came to an end in the sixth inning Sunday, when he flashed sudden wildness. With one out, Gonzalez issued three consecutive walks to Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Juan Uribe.

Which set the stage for Loney, who at that point was batting .111 (2 for 18) against left-handers. And Gonzalez was ahead in the count 1-2 when Loney lifted a curveball to shallow center for his two-run single.

Loney had only four RBIs in his first 20 games.

The runs snapped a streak of 25 consecutive scoreless innings for Gonzalez, a Nationals’ record. Gonzalez left after six innings, having struck out seven and given up two runs on only three hits. However, he walked five.


Don Mattingly sticking with Javy Guerra, but worried about ‘swag’

Taking a breath, looking back on Dodgers’ 4-3 win over Nationals

Don Mattingly not ready to move Dee Gordon out of leadoff -- yet

Chris Capuano, James Loney lead Dodgers to sweep of Nationals