WASHINGTON (AP) — Coming into their series with Washington fresh from an off day, the Los Angeles Dodgers wanted to get into the Nationals’ bullpen early.
Everything seemed to be going according to plan after Washington starter Aníbal Sánchez needed 31 pitches to get through a shaky first inning, but the veteran settled down and the Dodgers had to go to Plan B.
Manager Dave Roberts stuck with his lefty bats against lefty pitching once Sánchez was gone, and then Justin Turner delivered the decisive blow.
Turner hit a three-run homer with two outs in the eighth and Los Angeles beat the Nationals 4-2 on Friday night to open a three-game series between NL playoff contenders.
“For Justin, who took two neck balls and then stayed in there at 3-1 and get a pitch up and out over and hit a homer, it was a big homer, obviously,” Roberts said.
After the Nationals had retired 22 straight batters, reliever Tony Sipp (1-2) walked Joc Pederson and gave up a single to Alex Verdugo before exiting with two outs in the eighth. Kyle Barraclough, called up earlier in the day from Double-A, came in and immediately gave up Turner’s drive to center field, his 15th homer of the season.
“I didn’t know it was 22 straight, but it was good to see Joc get that left-on-left at-bat to get our first baserunner in a while,” Roberts said.
Joe Kelly (4-3) retired Anthony Rendon to end the seventh. Kenley Jansen walked home a run before striking out Howie Kendrick with the bases loaded for his 25th save.
“We’re all so confident in him,” Turner said. “We want him to have the ball in the ninth inning and he knows it. Wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Sánchez retired the final 20 batters he faced. He struck out six while allowing one run and three hits.
“Awesome,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “He was really, really good. He gave us seven innings. We had to pinch-hit for him down a run. But he was great.”
Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu allowed eight hits and one earned run in 6 2/3 innings.
The NL West leaders snapped a two-game skid, while the Nationals lost back-to-back games for the first time since June 22-23 against Atlanta.
The Dodgers took a 1-0 lead in the first on Cody Bellinger’s RBI single into shallow center field. It was their third single of the inning but their last hit until the eighth.
The Nationals tied it 1-all in the seventh on Adam Eaton’s bases-loaded single that scored Victor Robles. Pinch-hitter Gerardo Parra, who reached on a sacrifice bunt and fielding error by Turner at third base, was thrown out at the plate by left fielder Verdugo. The Nationals challenged the call and whether catcher Russell Martin had blocked the plate, but the ruling was upheld after video review.
Roberts wasn’t surprised the Nationals tried to bunt on Ryu, but Kendrick’s attempt in the sixth with the Dodgers up 1-0 with two on and no outs caught him off guard. “I was just surprised at the Howie Kendrick (bunt) right there,” Roberts said. “Him popping that ball up was a big play for us.”
Dodgers: Placed infielder David Freese (left hamstring strain) on the 10-day injured list and added infielder Tyler White to the roster. … Infielder/outfielder Kiké Hernández (left hand soreness) underwent an MRI and was available only as a defensive replacement.
Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer had an MRI on his back Friday morning that revealed a mild strain. Scherzer received a stem cell shot and will not throw for two days but hopes to make his next scheduled start Tuesday against Atlanta. … Barraclough was recalled from Double-A Harrisburg, and outfielder Andrew Stevenson was optioned to Triple-A Fresno. Barraclough (right radial nerve irritation) was placed on the 10-day injured list June 16 before being optioned July 9 to Harrisburg, where he made five appearances.
Dodgers: LHP Clayton Kershaw (8-2, 2.84 ERA) lost his last appearance against the Nationals on April 20, 2018, but has a lifetime record of 11-3 with a 2.18 ERA in 16 career games against Washington.
Nationals: RHP Joe Ross (0-2, 9.45 ERA) will take the mound Saturday for his second start of the season.
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports