Nationals 11, Dodgers 4
WASHINGTON (AP)—The Washington Nationals were thrilled to finally face a pitcher they could handle.
After being shut out by former All-Star game starters Brad Penny and Derek Lowe the previous two games, the Nationals broke out of their slump against Mark Hendrickson in an 11-4 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers Thursday night.
Ryan Zimmerman led the charge as one of four Nationals with at least two RBIs. He went 2-for-4 with a first-inning home run, a double and four RBIs.
“We faced two good pitchers in Penny and Lowe, and just being able to score first and kind of put the pressure on them felt better than anything else,” Zimmerman said.
The Nationals’ offense had been dormant during the first two games of the series. Washington mustered a total of nine hits the previous two nights while being outscored a combined 15-0, but had 14 hits in the series finale.
“We’re not playing American Legion baseball here or Division III college,” Dodgers manager Grady Little said. “These guys can play. You might … hold somebody down for a little bit, but sooner or later they’re going to bust out, and tonight they busted out on the L.A. Dodgers.”
Washington wasted no time jumping on Hendrickson and ending its 19-inning scoreless streak.
Cristian Guzman doubled down the left-field line with one out in the bottom of the first, and Zimmerman followed by hitting a hanging breaking ball over the left-field fence for his seventh home run of the season.
Micah Bowie (2-2), who gave up three runs in 5 1-3 innings in his third start of the season, was grateful for the early run support, but it didn’t help him relax.
“That was one of those things where we hadn’t scored in two days. We had to hold the lead,” Bowie said.
Russell Martin trimmed the lead to 2-1 in the top of the second when he hit a ball over the 410-foot marker in center. It was Martin’s second home run in as many games.
The Nationals increased their lead to 6-1 in the fifth and chased Hendrickson (2-3). He gave up five runs on eight hits in 4 1-3 innings and has lost three straight decisions.
“I was fighting mechanics a little bit and wasn’t executing my pitches the way I would like to have,” he said. “It seemed like the harder I fought, the worse I got.”
The Dodgers scored twice in the top of the sixth and again in the seventh to make it 6-4, but Washington broke the game open with five runs in the eighth.
After Felipe Lopez and Guzman walked, Zimmerman lined a double off Jonathan Broxton to make it 8-4. Kearns followed with a single that scored Zimmerman, and after Rudy Seanez came on in relief, Church hit a homer to right-center to make it 11-4.
The Nationals had better savor the offensive splurge: San Diego ace Jake Peavy takes the mound against Washington on Friday night.
“Hopefully we can keep this going,” Zimmerman said.
Rafael Furcal went 0-for-4 with a walk for Los Angeles, ending his hit streak at a career-high-tying 15 games. … Young had four hits for the first time since Opening Day 2005, when he hit three home runs for Detroit. … The Dodgers’ opposing scoreless streak ended at 21 innings, the team’s longest since May 2004. … Brazoban, a right-hander, left after facing three batters with soreness in his left shoulder.