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Dodgers 3-0 over Nationals: Clayton Kershaw outduels Jordan Zimmermann in LA

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Los Angeles Dodgers' lefty Clayton Kershaw retired 16 straight Washington Nationals to start tonight's game, but Michael Taylor broke up his no-hit bid in the in the sixth. Kershaw completed eight scoreless though, outdueling Jordan Zimmermann in a 3-0 win.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

5. Zimmermann vs the Dodgers: Washington Nationals' right-hander Jordan Zimmermann's outing against the Los Angeles Dodgers last month in the nation's capital was cut short when a bank of lights down the third base line in Nats Park went out inexplicably. He completed four innings in which he gave up three hits and two runs, but didn't come out after the hour-plus delay caused by the outage.

In his last five starts, including that outing, Zimmermann was winless (0-2) with the Nationals 2-3 in his starts, over which he put up a 4.25 ERA and a .250/.286/.393 line against in 29 ⅔ innings pitched before taking the mound in Dodger Stadium tonight in the series finale of the Nationals' three-game set in L.A.

Zimmermann was coming off a 6 ⅔-inning,106-pitch outing against the Colorado Rockies last week in D.C. in which he gave up four hits and run before he was replaced on the mound by reliever Casey Janssen in what ended up a 5-4 loss in which he received no decision.

"Really good," Nats' skipper Matt Williams said when asked about Zimmermann's work in the loss. "He gave us all he had. We got him out of there with Casey to stop that inning. He pitched great."

It was a nice bounceback for Zimmermann, who gave up five runs on six hits in a loss to the Mets in his previous start.

He took the mound tonight in Chavez Ravine (8-7) on the year with a 3.44 ERA, a 3.33 FIP, 25 walks (1.59 BB/9) and 105 Ks (6.69 K/9) in 141 ⅓ innings pitched over which he'd held opposing hitters to a combined .267/.305/.370 line.

Zimmermann's start against the Dodgers began with a double to right field by Carl Crawford on a liner to right that Bryce Harper misjudged. The Nationals turned a 6-3-5 DP in the next AB, however, with Ian Desmond fielding a grounder off Kike Hernandez's bat and throwing to Ryan Zimmerman at first as Crawford made an ill-advised dash for third and was cut down. Adrian Gonzalez K'd looking to end a 14-pitch frame.

An 11-pitch, 1-2-3 second left Zimmermann at 25 pitches.

Joc Pederson walked to start the Dodgers' third in a 10-pitch at bat and scored two outs later on an RBI line drive to left by Carl Crawford. 1-0. 23-pitch third for Zimmermann, 48 total after three.

An eight-pitch, 1-2-3 fourth left the Nats' starter at 56 pitches. Three weak groundouts gave Jordan Zimmermann a 1-2-3 fifth on 11 pitches. 67 total.

The Dodgers went down in order again in the sixth, with Kike Hernadez taking a 2-2 slider for a called strike three that ended a 10-pitch frame. 77 total. 10-straight outs.

Zimmermann struck out the side in a 16-pitch, 1-2-3 seventh that gave him 13-straight outs. 93 pitches. Still 1-0 LA.

• Jordan Zimmermann's Line: 7.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1ER, 1 BB, 9 Ks, 93 P, 71 S, 6/1 GO/FO.

4. Kershaw vs the Nats: Clayton Kershaw shut the Washington Nationals out when he faced them during the Los Angeles Dodgers' three-game visit to the nation's capital in July, striking out 14 on 101 pitches in a 4-2 win.

The 27-year-old lefty's eight scoreless frames were part of a stretch of 37 scoreless innings he put together between July 3rd and August 7th when he finally gave up a run in the first inning of his last start before tonight's.

"I didn't have good stuff. Both breaking balls weren't really working the way I wanted them to. It was just one of those nights." -Clayton Kershaw on rough start vs Pirates to the LA Times

Kershaw took the mound against the Nats in Chavez Ravine unbeaten in his last six starts going back to a June 27th loss to the Miami Marlins.

Over that stretch, the three-time Cy Young Award-winning southpaw was (4-0) with a 0.96 ERA and a .180/.213/.222 line against in 47 innings pitched over which he walked five (0.96 BB/9) and struck out 57 (10.91 K/9).

He was, however, coming off a less-than-stellar start against the Pittsburgh Pirates in which he gave up nine hits, two walks and four earned runs in six innings of a 5-4 loss in which he received no decision.

"I didn't have good stuff," Kershaw told reporters, including LA Times' writer Kevin Baxter after the outing.

"Both breaking balls weren't really working the way I wanted them to. It was just one of those nights."

On the year, Kershaw was (9-6) heading into tonight's start with a 2.51 ERA, 2.23 FIP, 30 walks (1.75 BB/9) and 197 Ks (11.51 K/9) in 22 starts and 154 IP over which he'd held opposing hitters to a combined .205/.253/.310 line.

Kershaw's 23rd start of the 2015 campaign began with a scoreless 13-pitch, 1-2-3 frame. He struck out the side in a 16-pitch, 1-2-3 second that left him at 29 total after two.

A 13-pitch, 1-2-3 third gave Kershaw nine straight outs to start the game. 42 pitches. The Nationals went down in order again in the fourth in a 10-pitch frame that gave Kershaw 12 straight outs. 52 pitches.

A 10-pitch, 1-2-3 fifth, all groundouts, gave Kershaw 15 straight outs on 62 pitches.

Michael Taylor doubled with one down in the sixth to end Kershaw's bid for perfection after 16 straight outs, but he was stranded on the base paths two outs later. 10-pitch frame. 72 total.

Anthony Rendon lined a 1-1 slider to left for a leadoff single in the Nationals' seventh, but three outs later he was stranded at first. 19-pitch frame, 91 total.

Michael Taylor singled with two out in the eighth. Danny Espinosa came on as a pinch hitter for Jordan Zimmermann, but grounded out to short to end Kershaw's eighth scoreless after 10 pitches. 101 total after eight.

Clayton Kershaw's Line: 8.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 Ks, 101 P, 71 S, 12/2 GO/FO.

3. Random Game Notes: The Dodgers' win last night left them 38-19 at home in Dodger Stadium this year, with withs in 12 of 18 series in Chavez Ravine this season.

• The Nationals can earn a tie of the season series with the Dodgers with a win tonight, after dropping three of the first five with LA.

• In 12 career starts vs the Nationals before tonight, Clayton Kershaw was (8-2) with a 2.31 ERA and he'd won each of his last six starts with the Nats, putting up a 0.96 ERA over 46 ⅔ innings pitched going back to 2012.

• Yasiel Puig's two-run home run off Joe Ross last night was his fifth since the All-Star Break, the most by any Dodger.

• Adrian Gonzalez entered tonight's game 61 for 190 (.321 AVG) with 11 doubles and nine homers in 50 career games against the Nationals.

Yunel Escobar was 2 for 4 last night, for his 34th multi-hit game of the season, the most multi-hit games by anyone on the Nationals.

• Ian Desmond was 1 for 4 last night, leaving him with a .276/.337/.563 line, two doubles and seven home runs since the All-Star Break.

Ryan Zimmerman's streak of games with an RBI ended at eight last night, one short of his own team record of nine straight with a run batted in.

2. Turning Point(s): Dodgers' rookie Joc Pederson battled Jordan Zimmermann for 10 pitches in the first at bat of the third, fouling off four pitches after starting down 0-2 and working the count full before he walked, and two outs later Carl Crawford hit an 0-2 fastball outside to left for an RBI single that brought Pederson in to make it 1-0 Los Angeles.

• Dodgers' lefty Clayton Kershaw retired the first 16 Nationals' batters he faced before he finally gave up a hit on a double to center by Michael Taylor, but he completed six scoreless on 72 pitches.

Kershaw stranded a runner in the eighth to give him 8.0 scoreless on 101 pitches.

1. The Wrap-Up: Drew Storen took over for the Nationals in the bottom of the eighth inning, hitting Joc Pederson and then giving up a double to right by Andre Ethier, and an error by Anthony Rendon on the throw in allowed Ethier and Pederson to score and make it 3-0 LA.

Kenley Jansen came on to end it and retired the Nationals in order. Ballgame. Dodgers take two of three from the Nationals.

Nationals now 58-55