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Nationals 6-4 over Dodgers: Nats hit four home runs in series opener in L.A.

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The Washington Nationals hit four home runs off Los Angeles Dodgers' right-hander Roberto Hernandez tonight, picking up where they left off in Seattle and Gio Gonzalez put together a solid outing in L.A. as the Nats took the series opener, 6-4.

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

L.A. is a great big freeway Top 5:

5. Quick Recap: Los Angeles Dodgers' right-hander Roberto Hernandez retired the first two batters he faced in the opening frame of tonight's game, but Washington Nationals' right fielder Jayson Werth got hold of a 2-2 sinker and sent a solo home run out to center in Dodger Stadium for a 1-0 lead early in the series opener in LA. HR no.16 of 2014 for Werth and his third in the last four games.

The Dodgers came right back, however. Gio Gonzalez walked Adrian Gonzalez (who had a .197 AVG vs LHPs going into the at bat) with two down and gave up a two-out, two-run home run to right by Matt Kemp that made it a 2-1 game in LA's favor after one. Kemp's 17th.

Asdrubal Cabrera tied things up at 2-2 with a leadoff blast in the third, taking a 2-2 change from Hernandez deep to left field and over the outfield wall for his 13th HR of the 2014 campaign. Denard Span hit the third home run of the game for the Nats out to right-center in Dodger Stadium to give the Nationals a 3-2 lead. Span's third of the 2014 campaign.

Asdrubal Cabrera walked to start the Nats' fifth, and one out later scored when Denard Span doubled his home run total for the season with his second home run of the night off Roberto Hernandez, crushing a first-pitch fastball and sending a two-run blast out to right for a 5-2 lead.

Gio Gonzalez's first double of the season started the seventh, and it was followed one out later by double no.35 of 2014 by Anthony Rendon, who bounced a 1-0 sinker from Brandon League off the base of the right field wall to bring Gonzalez in and make it 6-2 Nationals.

Juan Uribe hit a one-out RBI single to center off Drew Storen in the seventh to drive Matt Kemp in from third and cut the Nats' lead to three runs, 6-3, and drove a run in with an RBI single in the ninth, but that's as close as the Dodgers would get.

Nationals win, 6-4 final in the series opener in L.A.

4. Gio in L.A.: Nationals' lefty Gio Gonzalez threw seven scoreless against the Arizona Diamondbacks on August 21st in Nationals Park, walking three and giving up just four hits in what was arguably his best start so far in the second half of the 2014 campaign.

The 28-year-old starter followed that outing up with six innings of work on the road in Philadelphia, giving up six hits, two home runs and three runs total in a 4-3 loss to the Phillies in which he received no decision.

"He was competitive, he threw all of his pitches for strikes. Got out of an inning with a double play ball, which was good. He kept us in it..." -Matt Williams on Gio Gonzalez's last start

"Couple of mistakes that they hit over the fence," Nats' skipper Matt Williams said after Gonzalez's 22nd start of the season. "Other than that his pitch count was low. He was competitive. He threw all of his pitches for strikes. Got out of an inning with a double play ball, which was good. He kept us in it. We were able to come back, just not quite enough tonight."

Gonzalez didn't earn the win in the strong start against the D-Backs or take the loss in Citizens Bank Park, so he remained winless in his last nine starts since he beat the Chicago Cubs back on July 5th.

Over that stretch, the Nats' lefty is (0-5) with the Nationals 3-6 when he toes the rubber. He put up a 4.38 ERA over 49 ⅓ IP in those outings with 21 walks (3.83 BB/9), 53 Ks (9.67 K/9) and a .268/.341/.389 line against over that stretch.

Gonzalez took the mound tonight in Dodger Stadium trying to end the winless streak, facing the Dodgers for the first time this season and the third time in his major league career.

In the previous two outings against the current NL West division leaders, one in 2012 and one last season, he went (0-1) with a 1.50 ERA, seven walks (5.25 BB/9) and 18 Ks (13.50 K/9) in 12 IP, over which Dodgers' hitters have put up a combined .171/.292/.220 line against him.

He took the loss in his one start in LA before tonight's, giving up three hits, five walks and two earned runs in an April 29, 2012 start on the road.

When Gonzalez faced the Dodgers last season in the nation's capital, he received no decision in a 3-1 loss in which he threw six scoreless, giving up four hits and two walks while striking out 11.

On the road this season, Gonzalez has put up a 3.63 ERA in 11 starts and 67 IP (vs a 4.12 ERA in 11 starts and 59 IP in Nats Park), a 3.86 FIP (vs 2.53 in D.C.) and a .229/.314/.420 line against (vs a .247/.323/.419 line against at home).

His 12th start of the year away from Washington began with a failed attempt at a bunt single...

1st: Dee Gordon sent a bunt back to the mound that Gonzalez handled for the first out of the Dodgers' first. Hanley Ramirez grounded weakly to third on an 80 mph 1-2 change. Adrian Gonzalez walked with two down. Matt Kemp stepped in with a runner on and two out and hit a 93 mph 1-1 fastball out to right for a two-run opposite field home run that put the Dodgers up 2-1. A swinging K from Scott Van Slyke ended the Dodgers' first. 19-pitch frame for Gonzalez.

2nd: Yasiel Puig grounded to second to start the Dodgers' half of the second inning. A 1-2 curve got Juan Uribe swinging, but Gonzalez issued another two-out walk to A.J. Ellis in front of Roberto Hernandez. Hernandez's grounder to second ended a 12-pitch frame. 31 total after two.

3rd: Dee Gordon appeared to beat out a grounder to first base, racing Gio Gonzalez to the bag, but after a review showed Gonzalez tagged Gordon's back heel before the runner reached first, Gordon was called out. Dodgers' shortstop Hanley Ramirez took a 1-2 curve for a called strike three and out no.2. Adrian Gonzalez's groundout to first ended a 10-pitch, 1-2-3 third, that left Gonzalez at 41 pitches total after three.

4th: Matt Kemp grounded weakly to third to start the bottom of the fourth. Scott Van Slyke grounded out to short. Yasiel Puig hit a two-hopper to second to end a quick, eight-pitch, 1-2-3 fourth that left Gonzalez at 49 pitches overall on the night.

5th: Gio Gonzalez was up to 10 ground ball outs after Juan Uribe grounded out to first to start the Dodgers' fifth. A.J. Ellis lined out to right for out no.2. Alex Guerrero, who was called up today, K'd swinging at a 2-2 change to end a 10-pitch, 1-2-3 fifth after which Gonzalez was up to 59 pitches.

6th: Dee Gordon bunted to first for the first out of the bottom of the sixth and Gonzalez's 11th ground ball out of the night. Hanley Ramirez sent groundout no.12 to short. Adrian Gonzalez sent the first fly ball out by the Dodgers tonight to Bryce Harper in left to end an eight-pitch inning that left Gonzalez at 67 pitches overall after six, with 13 straight Dodgers set down.

7th: Matt Kemp broke Gonzalez's streak of retired batters up with a single to left. Andy Van Slyke connected for the second straight hit, singling to center to put two on in front of Yasiel Puig...

That was it for Gonzalez... [ed. note - "Action picks up in no.1 below."]

• Gio Gonzalez's Line: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 Ks, 1 HR, 74 P, 48 S, 12/1 GO/FO.

3. Not Roberto Hernandez Again!: In a May 4th start in Washington, D.C.'s Nationals Park, now-former Philadelphia Phillies' right-hander Roberto Hernandez, 34, held Nats' hitters to four hits and three walks in 7 ⅓ scoreless innings on the mound in a 1-0 win in which he outdueled Gio Gonzalez.

"We had some opportunities with the guys that we wanted up there that have been coming through for us," Williams told reporters after the loss.

"Today wasn't there day. But opportunities were out there. Gio pitched well. [Hernandez] pitched well. We certainly had good work from our bullpen today too, so good old fashioned pitchers' duel."

When Hernandez faced the Nationals again on August 1st in Citizens Bank Park, in his final start with Philadelphia before he was dealt to the Dodgers for P(s)TBNL on August 7th, the right-hander went eight innings, giving up five hits, one walk and one unearned run in a 2-1 win.

Over the course of nine-year career, Hernandez is (3-1) in four starts against the Nationals, with a 1.19 ERA, six walks (1.78 BB/9) and 16 Ks (4.74 K/9) in 30 ⅓ IP, over which he's held Nats' hitters to a .208/.250/.245 line.

Since joining the Dodgers, he was (2-1) in four starts before taking the mound tonight, with a 3.52 ERA and a .247/.315/.259 line against in 23 IP.

Hernandez's third start of the year against the Nationals began with two quick outs, but Jayson Werth got hold of a 2-2 sinker in his two-out at bat and sent it soaring out to center in Dodger Stadium for a solo blast and a 1-0 lead after one. 23-pitch first for Hernandez.

A 14-pitch, 1-2-3 second left Hernandez at 37 pitches total after two.

Asdrubal Cabrera battled Hernandez for seven pitches in the first at bat of the third and hit a solo home run out to left on an 86 mph 2-2 change from the Dodgers' starter. HR no.13 of 2014 for Cabrera tied things up at 2-2. One out later, Denard Span took Hernandez deep to right-center on another changeup, sending a solo shot out to right-center to make it a 3-2 game in the Nationals' favor. 29-pitch frame for Hernandez, 66 total after three.

Hernandez needed 13 pitches to retire the Nationals in order in the fourth, leaving him at 79 pitches overall after four.

Asdrubal Cabrera walked to start the Nats' fifth and scored one out later when Denard Span hit a first-pitch fastball out to right for his second home run of the night and his fourth of the season. 5-2 Nationals.

That was it for Hernandez...

Roberto Hernandez's Line: 4.1 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 4 Ks, 4 HRs, 91 P, 57 S, 5/1 GO/FO.

2. Turning Point(s): Gio Gonzalez retired the first two Dodgers he faced tonight, but a two-out walk to Dodgers' first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who entered the game with a .197 AVG vs lefties this season, really hurt when Matt Kemp hit a two-out, two-run home run to right in the next at bat, giving L.A. a 2-1 lead a half-inning after Jayson Werth's two-out home run to center in Dodger Stadium put Nationals up 1-0.

Coming into tonight's game, Roberto Hernandez hadn't allowed a home run in 39 innings going back to his next-to-last inning of work in a July 27th start against San Francisco.

In the first three innings tonight, the Nationals hit three home runs off the veteran right-hander, with Asdrubal Cabrera and Denard Span's blasts in the third giving the Nats a 3-2 lead after three.

Span took Hernandez deep again in the fifth, hitting his second home run of the game and his fourth of the season out to right in Dodger Stadium one out after Cabrera walked to start the inning.

The Nationals' fourth home run of the game ended Hernandez's night...

1. The Wrap-Up: Chris Perez took over for the Dodgers with one out in the fifth and got the Dodgers out of the inning without further damage after the Nationals added two on Denard Span's second home run.

Jamey Wright gave up a leadoff single by Ian Desmond in the top of the sixth, but retired the next three batters for a scoreless top of the frame.

Gio Gonzalez doubled to center off Dodgers' right-hander Brandon League to start the seventh and scored from second one out later on a double to right by Anthony Rendon. Rendon's 35th double of the year.

Drew Storen took the mound for the Nationals in the bottom of the seventh with runners on first and second after back-to-back singles by Matt Kemp and Andy Van Slyke. Yasiel Puig stepped in as the tying run and grounded into a force at second. Juan Uribe came up with runners on the corners and drove a single to center to make it a 6-3 game.

A.J. Ellis lined to center for out no.2 of the Dodgers' seventh. Pinch hitter Andre Ethier came up next, so Nats' skipper Matt Williams went to the pen for Matt Thornton. Don Mattingly countered with Justin Turner. Swinging K with a 96 mph 1-2 fastball. 6-3 Nats after seven.

Right-hander Yimi Garcia made his MLB debut for the Dodgers in the eighth, giving up a single to right by Bryce Harper to start the frame, before getting a double play grounder out of Wilson Ramos. Asdrubal Cabrera's fly to right ended a quick top of the eighth.

Tyler Clippard retired the Dodgers in order in a 16-pitch eighth.

Yimi Garcia threw a scoreless top of the ninth.

Pitch it, Soriano! Pitch it, Soriano! Strike'em out, Soriano! Strike'em out, Soriano!!

Rafael Soriano took the mound in the ninth looking for save no.31 of 2014. Matt Kemp went down swinging at a 93 mph 1-2 fastball. ONE! Scott Van Slyke popped to center. TWO!! Yasiel Puig walked with two out. Puig stole second as Juan Uribe fell behind 0-2 quickly, but Uribe singled to center, off the second base bag, to drive the Dodgers' fourth run in. 6-4. Carl Crawford singled to center to send Uribe around to third. Joc Pederson in his first major league at bat... worked the count full... and K'd looking to end it. Ballgame.

Work's done! Untuck that jersey, son!!

Nationals now 78-58