Dodgers 4, Nationals 2

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LOS ANGELES (AP)—For at least one night, three struggling members of the Los Angeles Dodgers experienced success.

It’s possible one of them won’t have another chance for a while.

Jeff Weaver pitched six effective innings after two bad outings, Jason Phillips and Jose Valentin emerged from lengthy slumps with big hits and the Dodgers beat the Washington Nationals 4-2 Tuesday night for their fourth win in five games.

Weaver (3-2), who allowed 13 runs and 18 hits over 10 1-3 innings in his previous two starts, gave up two runs and seven hits while walking one and striking out seven.

“It’s been a grind the last couple outings,” he said. “You’ve got to continue to put games behind you.”

Yhency Brazoban, the fifth Dodgers pitcher, worked a scoreless ninth for his ninth save in 10 chances.

Phillips hit a two-out, two-run double off Jon Rauch (0-1) in the fifth inning to break a 2-2 tie. Phillips struck out in his first two at-bats, leaving him with two hits in 18 at-bats during a homestand that finishes Wednesday night.

Then came his big hit—a hard grounder inside third.

“It seems like when you’re not swinging good, every pitch is nasty. You’re not getting anything to hit,” Phillips said. “It gets frustrating. My third at-bat tonight, I just tried to put the ball in play.”

Rauch said Phillips hit a hanging curveball.

“It was a horrible pitch,” Rauch said. “You just can’t do that to that kind of a hitter. I just made bad pitches at inappropriate times, and you just can’t do that.”

Milton Bradley hit a one-out single and Valentin drew a two-out walk before Phillips came through. The relay from shortstop Cristian Guzman appeared to have Valentin beat, but catcher Brian Schneider couldn’t hold onto the ball as Valentin slid into him.

Valentin played one more inning in the field before leaving the game because of what the Dodgers said was a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee. He was scheduled to undergo an MRI exam Wednesday.

“He went out to play defense, but then he came in and told Stan his knee was getting very sore,” Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said, referring to trainer Stan Johnston.

Valentin wasn’t available for comment.

The Nationals took a 2-0 lead on a double by Jose Guillen and an RBI single by Ryan Church in the second and two-out doubles by Brad Wilkerson and Nick Johnson in the third.

The Dodgers tied the game in the fourth. Ricky Ledee hit a one-out double and scored on a single by Valentin that snapped an 0-for-27 drought. Los Angeles loaded the bases with two outs before Hee-Seop Choi singled to drive in Valentin and chase starter Zach Day. Rauch relieved and retired J.D. Drew on a flyout.

The Nationals blew a great opportunity in the seventh. Schneider walked and Duaner Sanchez relieved Weaver. Guzman and pinch-hitter Carlos Baerga followed with singles to apparently load the bases, but Guzman rounded second too far and was thrown out by Bradley from center. Kelly Wunsch replaced Sanchez and struck out Wilkerson, then retired Johnson on a flyout to end the inning.

“Yeah, it hurt, no doubt about it,” Nationals manager Frank Robinson said. “You’ve got to run with your head up when there are people in front of you. You’ve got to know who’s in front of you, their speed, and also you have to understand that the coach might stop a guy.

“Those are things we can’t afford to do—run into an out.”

Another baserunning mistake cost Washington in the fourth. Guillen led off with a double and tried to advance on Vinny Castilla’s one-out grounder to third, but was tagged out by Valentin. Schneider followed with a single before Weaver struck out Guzman to end the inning.

Day allowed six hits and three walks in 3 2-3 innings, but the Dodgers scored only two runs, stranding seven in the first four innings.


The Nationals put OF Terrmel Sledge on the 15-day DL with a pulled right hamstring and called up OF Jeffrey Hammonds and OF Endy Chavez from Triple-A New Orleans. They also transferred LHP Joey Eischen (broken arm) from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL. … The Dodgers activated LHP Wilson Alvarez from the 15-day disabled list. He hasn’t pitched this season because of tendinitis in his shoulder. To make room, they optioned RHP Buddy Carlyle to Triple-A Las Vegas of the Pacific Coast League. … Guzman singled in the seventh to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. … Nationals 2B Jose Vidro played in his 1,000th game with the Expos/Nationals. He ranks seventh in franchise history in games played. Tim Wallach, now the Dodgers’ batting coach, ranks first, having played in 1,767 games. … Wilkerson had gone hitless in 20 straight at-bats before his third-inning double.

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