Battle of Los Angeles Top 5:
5. Quick Recap: Washington Nationals' right-hander Doug Fister started the second game of three in Los Angeles with four scoreless innings, but the Dodgers took advantage of some defensive miscues in the fifth to push two runs across. Clayton Kershaw and Dee Gordon hit back-to-back, one-out singles with Kershaw taking third on Gordon's grounder to center, beating a late, wide throw from Bryce Harper that allowed Gordon to take second.
Adrian Gonzalez sent a slow chopper to short in the next at bat, bringing Kershaw in, and Gordon went for home too when Ian Desmond bobbled it and scored when Desmond's throw soared over Nats' catcher Wilson Ramos at the plate. 2-0 L.A.
Adrian Gonzalez singles to shortstop, and not one but two runs come in to score. Dodgers lead, 2-0, at the end of five innings.— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) September 3, 2014
Carl Crawford singled to start the sixth, and scored on Juan Uribe's two-run home run to left off Fister. 4-0 Dodgers.
With two down in the top of the seventh, Bryce Harper got a hold of a first-pitch fastball from Clayton Kershaw and hit the first home run by a left-handed hitter off the Dodgers' lefty this season out to right field in Dodger Stadium to make it 4-1 L.A. with just the second hit off the game off Kershaw.
Bryce Harper homers to right-center field, snapping 12 straight retired for @ClaytonKersh22. Dodgers lead 4-1 at the stretch.— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) September 3, 2014
That's how it ended, 4-1 Dodgers final.
4. Fister in L.A.: In his first six second-half outings, 30-year-old Nationals' starter Doug Fister gave up 36 hits, one a home run, and seven runs total, four earned (for a 0.88 ERA) in 41 IP, over which the 6'8'' right-hander held opposing hitters to a combined .231/.259/.276 line.
In his last two starts in the second half of his first season with the Nats, however, Fister has given up 17 hits, four home runs, and nine runs total, eight earned (6.17 ERA), in 11 ⅔ IP in which opposing hitters have put up a .340/.377/.600 line against him.
Last time out, against Philadelphia, Fister surrendered 10 hits, two home runs and five runs total, four earned in just 5 ⅔ IP on the mound in Citizens Bank Park.
The second home run came in the next-to-last at bat of his outing when he hung an 0-2 curve up for Grady Sizemore, who hit a two-run blast to right field.
When Fister followed that at bat with a HBP on Ben Revere, Nats' skipper Matt Williams went to the pen.
"With the exception of the last pitch he threw for a homer, [he was] pretty good," Williams said after the loss to the Phillies.
"Early on they got him for a couple of base hits in front of the outfielders. Then he settled in nicely and pitched well. We were trying to get him through that inning to give him a chance to finish it, but it didn't happen that way. He gave up the homer and then hit [Ben] Revere and we had to go get him."
The Nationals' first-year skipper wasn't worried that Fister surrendered four home runs in his last two starts.
"Tonight it was a curveball," Williams said. "He had [Sizemore] down two strikes and just hung a curveball. So, I don't think there is any common theme to it. Generally he's thrown the sinker and the changeup and balls are on the ground. But in the last couple he's given up some homers, but I don't think there's any theme there, other than tonight was just a mistake pitch."
The loss on the road in CBP, left Fister (6-3) in 11 starts away from the nation's capital this season, with a 2.91 ERA, a 4.51 FIP and a .285/.317/.435 line against in 68 IP.
Tonight in L.A., the right-hander was taking on the Dodgers and pitching in Dodger Stadium for the first time in his six-year major league career.
Fister's first start in Los Angeles began with a backwards K...
1st: Dee Gordon took a 1-2 two-seamer inside for a called strike three. Hanley Ramirez hit a sharp, one-hop grounder to Kevin Frandsen at first for out no.2. Adrian Gonzalez took a high 3-1 fastball for ball four and a two-out walk in front Matt Kemp, who sent a fly to center on the first pitch he saw to end a quick, 13-pitch bottom of the first by Fister.
2nd: Carl Crawford grounded out to second to start the Dodgers' half of the second inning. Juan Uribe popped up to Kevin Frandsen in foul territory behind first for out no.2. 22-year-old Joc Pederson stepped in with two down and singled to center on a 2-2 fastball inside for his first major league hit. A.J. Ellis fell behind 0-2 quickly and sent a slow roller to short that Ian Desmond couldn't barehand. Clayton Kershaw lined out to third in the next at bat, however, ending a 17-pitch frame that left Fister at 30 pitches.
3rd: Dee Gordon lined out to Bryce Harper. Hanley Ramirez sent a one-hopper to Ian Desmond at short for out no.2. Adrian Gonzalez's groundout to third ended a quick, 12-pitch, 1-2-3 3rd that left Fister at 42 pitches overall after three.
4th: Matt Kemp doubled to center and into the stands on a hop for the third hit of the game off Fister. Carl Crawford tried to bunt for a hit, and Doug Fister threw the ball by first, but Asdrubal Cabrera collected it and threw home in time to get Kemp at the plate. Juan Uribe grounded into a force at second for out no.2. Joc Pederson K'd swinging at a 3-2 change to end a 14-pitch fourth. 56 pitches for Fister after four.
5th: A.J. Ellis grounded out to start the fifth, but Clayton Kershaw and Dee Gordon hit back-to-back singles off Fister with Kershaw taking third on Bryce Harper, who threw late and wide to third, allowing Gordon to take second. Hanley Ramirez stepped in with two runners in scoring position and hit a sharp one-hopper to short for out no.2. Adrian Gonzalez got a two-out opportunity and grounded to short, just out of Rendon and Desmond's reach. Kershaw scored on the grounder and Gordon scored on a high throw home by Desmond, who bobbled the ball and then threw it over the plate. Gonzalez took second on the play, but was stranded when Matt Kemp grounded out to short to end a 24-pitch frame that left Fister at 80 pitches.
6th: Carl Crawford singled to start the sixth and scored when Juan Uribe sent a first-pitch fastball out to left for a line drive home run that put the Dodgers up 4-0. Joc Pederson walked in front of A.J. Ellis, and Ellis singled to put two on with no one out and end Fister's night...
• Doug Fister's Line: 5.0 IP, 10 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 Ks, 1 HR, 98 P, 65 S, 8/1 GO/FO.
3. Kershaw in L.A.: Amongst qualified NL starters, Dodgers' lefty Clayton Kershaw has the National League's lowest ERA (1.73), the lowest FIP (1.81) and lowest xFIP (2.02).
He's the NL leader in fWAR among starters at +5.9, ahead of Nats' starter Jordan Zimmermann's +4.1. His 10.82 K/9 are first in the NL, ahead of Stephen Strasburg's 10.33 K/9.
His 1.28 BB/9 are the NL's second-lowest, behind only the Mets' Bartolo Colon (1.15 BB/9).
His .193 BAA is the NL's lowest, tied with the Reds' Johnny Cueto.
His 0.84 WHIP is the NL's lowest.
Clayton Kershaw is pretty good.
The 26-year-old, '06 1st Round pick out of Highland Park High School in University Park, Texas, also leads the National League in wins with 16, tied with Cueto and Giants' lefty Madison Bumgarner.
At home in L.A. Kershaw was (7-2) in 11 starts before tonight's, with a 1.86 ERA, a 1.81 FIP, nine walks (0.93 BB/9) and 110 Ks (11.38 K/9) in 87 IP over which he's held visiting hitters to a combined .187/.211/.301 line.
Tonight in Dodger Stadium, the left-hander was taking on the Nationals for the second time this season.
In a May 6th start in the nation's capital, Kershaw threw seven scoreless innings against Washington, holding the Nats to nine hits and striking out nine in his first start off the DL after suffering a strain in his left shoulder in March.
That outing was the 10th of his career and the ninth start against the Nationals.
With the win, he improved to (6-2) with a 2.79 ERA, 15 walks and 66 Ks in 58 IP, over which he's held Nats' hitters to a .216/.265/.358 line against.
In eight second-half starts before tonight's, Kershaw was (5-1) with the Dodgers 7-1 in his outings, over which he's put up a 1.66 ERA, a 2.14 FIP and a .198/.238/.295 line against in 65 IP.
The ninth start of the second half of Kershaw's seventh major league season began with two quick outs, but the lefty walked Jayson Werth with two down, when the Nats' outfielder spit on a 3-2 slider in the dirt. Ian Desmond took an 0-2 curve for a called strike three in the next at bat though, ending a 17-pitch top of the first.
Wilson Ramos lined the first pitch of the second to right for a leadoff single, but three quick outs later, he was stranded on the basepaths at the end of a 12-pitch inning that left Kershaw at 29 total after two.
Asdrubal Cabrera walked with two down in the third, but he too was stranded at the end of a 19-pitch inning that left Kershaw at 48 overall.
Kershaw set the Nationals down in order in a nine-pitch, 1-2-3 fourth. 57 overall after four. A 17-pitch, 1-2-3 fifth left him at 74 overall after five.
Given a 2-0 lead to work with when he scored ahead of Dee Gordon in the bottom of the fifth, Kershaw went back out and retired the Nationals in order in a 12-pitch, 1-2-3 sixth that left him at 86 pitches overall.
A swinging K from Ian Desmond and a groundout by Wilson Ramos gave Clayton Kershaw 12-straight outs, but in the next at bat, Bryce Harper took the Dodgers' lefty deep to right on a first-pitch fastball, hitting the first home run Kershaw's surrendered to a left-handed hitter this season.
.@Bharper3407 is the first left-handed batter to homer off Clayton Kershaw all season. Last lefty before Harper? Jay Bruce on 9/8/13.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 3, 2014
4-1 L.A after Harper's 11th. Scott Hairston's groundout to short ended an 11-pitch frame that left Kershaw at 97 pitches.
Anthony Rendon singled to left for the Nationals' third hit of the game off Kershaw, but he was forced out at second on a grounder to short by Asdrubal Carbera to end an 11-pitch frame. 108 overall for Kershaw.
• Clayton Kershaw's Line: 8.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 Ks 1 HR, 108 P, 77 S, 8/2 GO/FO.
• 2. Turning Point(s): Defense. Defense. Defense. Clayton Kershaw singled with one down in the fifth, then made an ill-advised decision to test Bryce Harper's arm on a single to center by Dee Gordon, but Harper threw wide and late to third on the play, allowing Gordon to take second ahead of a throw from Anthony Rendon.
Ian Desmond bobbled a grounder to short off Adrian Gonzalez's bat in the next AB and after Kershaw scored, threw away an attempt to get Gordon at the plate, allowing the second run of the game to cross as well.
2-0 L.A. at that point, 4-0 when Juan Uribe hit a two-run home run in the sixth.
1. The Wrap-Up: Ross Detwiler took over on the mound with two on and no one out in the sixth and made a bad decision on a bunt by Clayton Kershaw, throwing to third to try to catch the lead runner, but bouncing the throw by Anthony Rendon to let the Dodgers load the bases. Dee Gordon grounded back to the mound and into a force at home for the first out. Hanley Ramirez grounded into an inning-ending 5-4-3 DP. Still 4-0 L.A.
Detwiler came back for another inning of work in the bottom of the seventh and gave up a single by Adrian Gonzalez, but recorded the first two outs of the frame, and Aaron Barrett finished the Dodgers off in the seventh.
Still 4-1 L.A.
Xavier Cedeno took the mound for the Nationals in the eighth and retired the Dodgers in order.
Kenley Jansen finished the Nationals off with a scoreless ninth. Ballgame. 4-1 Dodgers.
Nationals now 78-59