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Nationals pound Dodgers, 8-3: Gio Gonzalez throws eight scoreless in L.A.

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The Washington Nationals pounded Los Angeles Dodgers' lefty Brett Anderson and beat LA 8-3 in the series opener in Dodger Stadium with Nats' lefty Gio Gonzalez throwing eight scoreless innings in Chavez Ravine.

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

5. Gio in L.A.: In his last six starts before tonight's outing against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, California's Dodger Stadium, Washington Nationals' lefty Gio Gonzalez allowed two earned runs or less, with a 1.77 ERA, 13 walks (2.88 BB/9) and 37 Ks (8.19 K/9) in 40 ⅔ innings pitched, over which he's held opposing hitters to a .247/.304/.318 line.

Over his last seven starts, going back to June 15th, the 29-year-old Nats' left-hander was undefeated, going (4-0) with the Nationals 4-3 in his outings, which left him (8-4) on the year, with a 3.75 ERA, a 3.09 FIP, 44 walks (3.18 BB/9), 105 Ks (9.19 K/9) and a .237/.344/.384 line against in 158 ⅔ IP.

"Heavy pitch counts. Again, he's making pitches when he has to, but he's losing the strike zone a little bit. But, he'll be ready for his next one." -Matt Williams on Gio Gonzalez's last start before tonight

Gonzalez's last start before tonight's was a five-inning outing against Arizona in Nationals Park, in which he gave up eight hits, a walk and two earned runs, throwing 95 pitches before Nats' manager Matt Williams went to the pen.

"Heavy pitch counts," Williams said when asked about ending Gonzalez's outing. "Again, he's making pitches when he has to, but he's losing the strike zone a little bit. But, he'll be ready for his next one. He's given us good effort and that's all we can care about at this point."

"I've got to focus on my job and go out there and pitch more than five innings," Gonzalez told reporters after what ended up an 11-4 loss to the D-Backs.

"I felt great. I mean, can't do nothing about their contact. Every ball they hit felt like they were putting it into play, that's just basically it."

Tonight in LA, Gonzalez made it through eight scoreless innings on the mound in LA...

Gonzalez worked around a leadoff single by Jimmy Rollins for a scoreless seven-pitch first against the Dodgers, and worked around a two-out single by Alex Guerrero (with help from a diving Yunel Escobar at third) in a quick, 13-pitch second, to finish two scoreless on 20 pitches with a 2-0 lead.

Jose Peraza "tripled" to right on a soft line drive that dropped in in front of a sliding Bryce Harper and bounced by the Nationals' right fielder, but the debuting Dodgers' infielder was stranded when Yasiel Puig K'd swinging over a cruel 1-2 curve for out no.3 of a 16-pitch third that left Gio Gonzalez at 36 pitches.

Bryce Harper made a nice play and strong throw to second to hold Alberto Callaspo to a single on a liner to right with two down in the Dodgers' fourth, and Gonzalez got a groundout from Alex Gonzalez in the next at bat to end an eight-pitch fourth at 44 pitches.

A.J. Ellis doubled to center to start the Dodgers' fifth and moved to third on a sac bunt by Brett Anderson, but he was stranded at third two outs later as Gonzalez completed his fifth scoreless frame after 14 pitches, at 58 overall.

Given a 7-0 lead to work with, Gonzalez gave up a two-out double off the left field wall by Kike Hernandez, and an infield single by Alberto Callaspo in the Dodgers' sixth, but got a force at second on a grounder to third by Alex Guerrero to end a 23-pitch sixth at 81 pitches.

Gonzalez added two Ks in a 16-pitch, 1-2-3 seventh that left him at 97 pitches. He came back out for the eighth, and issued his first walk of the game before completing a scoreless frame. 20-pitch eighth. 117 pitches.

• Gio Gonzalez's Line: 8.0 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 Ks, 117 P, 76 S, 10/3 GO/FO.

4. Anderson vs the Nats: An Arizona Diamondbacks' '06 2nd Round pick, traded to the Oakland A's in 2007 in the Dan Haren deal and then traded by the Athletics to the Colorado Rockies in a 2013 trade for Drew Pomeranz, 27-year-old left-hander Brett Anderson signed a 1-year/$10M deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers this winter, after he made just eight starts for the Rockies last season, going (1-3) with a 2.91 ERA, a 2.99 FIP, 13 walks (2.70 BB/9), 29 Ks (6.02 K/9) and a .264/.318/.370 line against in 43 ⅓ innings pitched.

Anderson was limited to just eight starts by a broken index finger and a herniated disc in his back which eventually required surgery.

Anderson made 21 starts for the Dodgers this season before tonight's outing in the series opener of LA's three-game set with the Washington Nationals, going (6-6) with a 3.06 ERA, a 3.61 FIP, 33 walks (2.40 BB/9), 86 Ks (6.26 K/9) and a .265/.317/.368 line against in 123 ⅔ IP.

His last start was a six-inning outing against Philadelphia last week in Citizens Bank Park, which saw the seven-year veteran hold the Phillies to four hits, two walks and one run in a 4-3 win in which he threw 92 pitches.

Back home in LA tonight, Anderson's 22nd start of the year began with an eight-pitch first in which he worked around a leadoff single by Yunel Escobar.

Ryan Zimmerman doubled to the right-center gap on a 3-2 fastball in the first at bat of the second, and scored one out later on a two-run home run to left by Ian Desmond, who crushed a 1-0 curve. 2-0 Nats. 16-pitch frame. 24 total after two.

Anderson issued back-to-back, one-out walks to Yunel Escobar and Anthony Rendon in the third, but started a 1-6-3 DP on a sharp grounder back to the mound by Bryce Harper to end a relatively quick, 13-pitch third at 37 overall.

A 16-pitch, 1-2-3 fourth left Anderson at 53 pitches. Michael Taylor lined a 2-1 slider to right for a one-out single, but he was stranded at second two outs later and the Dodgers' lefty was up to 64 pitches after an 11-pitch fifth.

Anthony Rendon and Bryce Harper hit back-to-back singles off Anderson to start the sixth, and Ryan Zimmerman followed with a double off the low fence in left that brought Rendon around for a 3-0 lead.

Harper and Zimmerman scored in the next at bat when Jayson Werth lined a double over Dodgers' CF Enrique Hernandez's head, 5-0 Nationals.

Ian Desmond singled and Jose Lobaton walked to load the bases with no one out and Michael Taylor drove in two more with a line drive to center. 6-0. That was it for Anderson...

Brett Anderson's Line: 5.0 IP, 10 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 89 P, 50 S, 11/0 GO/FO.

3. Random Game Notes: A loss tonight, in the series opener with the Nationals in LA, would be the Dodgers' fourth straight, making them the last of 30 MLB teams to lose four straight this season.

• The Nationals took two of three games from the Dodgers when the played in D.C. last month, giving the Nats their first series win over LA since 2005.

• The Dodgers placed Howie Kendrick on the DL today (hamstring) and called up former Atlanta Braves' prospect Jose Peraza, who was acquired before the trade deadline in a July 30th deal.

• Dodgers' first baseman Adrian Gonzalez was 7 for 11 with a double and two home runs during the series in the nation's capital, leaving him 61 for 186 (.328 AVG) in 50 games against the Nationals in his career.

• Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth's back-to-back home runs in Sunday's loss were the first back-to-back blasts for the Nationals this season.

• The Nationals enter this week's three game set with the Dodgers 8-21 in Dodger Stadium since 2005.

• In 12 games since coming off a DL stint for plantar fasciitis in his left foot, Zimmerman is 14 for 44 (.318 AVG) with five doubles and four home runs.

• Gio Gonzalez is (1-1) career against the Dodgers in three starts, with a 2.50 ERA, and looking to extend his unbeaten streak to eight-straight outings going back to June 15th.

2. Turning Point(s): Ryan Zimmerman's leadoff double in the top of the second tonight was his sixth two-base hit in 13 games since he came off the DL on July 28th. Zimmerman came into tonight's matchup 14 for 44 in the last twelve, (.318/.392/.705), with five doubles and four home runs over that stretch, which included his two-homer game in Sunday's series finale with the Colorado Rockies in D.C.

He scored the first runs of the game against the Dodgers one out later when Ian Desmond crushed a 1-0 curve from Brett Anderson, sending a two-run blast into the left field seats for a 2-0 lead early in the series opener in LA.

• Zimmerman doubled for the 7th time in fourteen games since coming off the Disabled List in the third at bat of the Nats' sixth, after Anthony Rendon and Bryce Harper singled to start the frame. Rendon scored on Zim's two-bagger and Harper and Zimmerman scored when Jayson Werth lined a double to center in the next at bat. 5-0 Nationals. Michael Taylor added to the lead with an RBI single to center that knocked Anderson out. 6-0. Michael Taylor drove one in too, 8-0.

1. The Wrap-Up: Pedro Baez took over on the mound with the bases loaded and Gio Gonzalez at the plate with no one out in the sixth. Gonzalez popped out for the first out of the frame, but another run scored when the Dodgers failed to turn a double play on a Yunel Escobar grounder to second, 7-0.

Baez struck out the side in a 12-pitch 7th, getting Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth swinging.

J.P. Howell gave up a leadoff home run to center by Ian Desmond in the Nationals' 8th. 8-0 Nats.

Kenley Jansen struck out the side in the top of the ninth.

Doug Fister came on for his first inning of relief work in the bottom of the frame, and issued a one-out walk after an E:6 on what should have been out no.2. Joc Pederson stepped in with two on and one out, K'd looking. Carl Crawford came up next and hit a three-run home run to right field before getting the final out. 8-3 final.

Nationals now 58-53