Big innings, Kuroda’s arm fuel Dodgers’ 14-2 rout

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WASHINGTON (AP)—Matt Kemp(notes) and the Los Angeles Dodgers are avoiding the temptation to ponder magic numbers and possible postseason scenarios.

The Washington Nationals, a defeat away from a dubious milestone, are weary of constantly rehashing losses.

Rafael Furcal(notes) drove in four runs, Hiroki Kuroda(notes) allowed four hits over six innings and the Dodgers had two big innings in a 14-2 romp Tuesday night, the Nationals’ 99th loss of the season.

The Dodgers’ sixth win in seven games lowered their magic number for clinching a postseason berth to three. Los Angeles would win its second straight NL West title for the first time since 1977-78 with any combination of Dodger wins and Colorado losses totaling seven.

“I ain’t worrying about that. When it happens, it happens,” said Kemp, who had two RBIs. “When I come in here and see all the little covers (over lockers) so we can pour some champagne, that’s when I’ll worry about pouring some champagne. Until then, we’ve got work to do.”

The Dodgers twice sent 11 men to the plate in an inning.

Kuroda (8-6) won his third straight start. He allowed no earned runs, walked two and struck out six.

“Once (Kuroda) got the lead, I thought he threw a lot more strikes and seemed a lot more comfortable,” Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. “We were going to send him out there for the seventh, but it was such a long inning we decided to take him out.”

Furcal and James Loney(notes) drove in two runs each in a seven-run fourth, erasing a 2-1 deficit. Casey Blake(notes) hit a two-run homer and Furcal added two more RBIs in a six-run seventh.

“That’s what winning games is about: coming up with big hits like guys did. … When we struggle, it’s when we don’t get those key hits. This is what this team is capable of doing, but we don’t always do it,” Blake said.

Adam Dunn(notes) homered for Washington, which has dropped three straight and six of seven. Washington has lost the most games in the majors and its next setback will secure a second consecutive 100-loss season.

“I haven’t even paid any attention to it,” said outfielder Willie Harris(notes), a member of last year’s team that went 59-102. “The way we played at the beginning of the season was not good (and) the last couple of road trips haven’t been well. A hundred losses, they get up on you quick. No one here wants to lose 100 games.”

Manny Ramirez(notes) gave the Dodgers a 1-0 lead in the third with a two-out RBI double.

An error by shortstop Furcal helped the Nationals take a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the inning. Ryan Zimmerman(notes) reached when Furcal booted his two-out grounder and Dunn followed with his 38th homer, a shot into the right-field bullpen.

The Dodgers exploited two errors in a seven-run fourth, knocking Nationals starter Livan Hernandez(notes) from the game.

Consecutive singles by Loney, Blake and Ronnie Belliard(notes) tied the game, and the runners moved up when center fielder Harris misplayed Belliard’s hit. Russell Martin(notes) was intentionally walked to load the bases and, after Kuroda fouled out, Furcal drove in two runs with a single to left. Left fielder Josh Willingham’s(notes) wild throw home allowed both runners to advance and Martin scored on Andre Ethier’s(notes) groundout.

After Ramirez was walked, Kemp singled to center, extending his hitting streak to 13 games, giving Los Angeles a 6-2 lead and chasing Hernandez (8-12). The right-hander allowed eight runs and eight hits and walked four in 3 2-3 innings.

“You make a mistake and they hit you,” Hernandez said. “The ball was running all over the place.”

Marco Estrada(notes) relieved and yielded Loney’s two-run double to right-center, his second hit of the inning.

In the seventh, Blake hit a two-run homer off Saul Rivera(notes), Furcal drove in two with a bases-loaded single off Victor Garate(notes), and Zack Segovia(notes) allowed a sacrifice fly by pinch-hitter Jason Repko(notes) and Kemp’s run-scoring fielder’s choice.

NOTES: The Dodgers’ 14 runs were the most scored by an opponent at Nationals Park this season. … Hernandez is 1-7 in his last 10 starts. … Dodgers LHP Clayton Kershaw(notes), who had been out with right shoulder injury, worked the final two innings, striking out four. Kershaw is on target to start Sunday’s game at Pittsburgh, manager Joe Torre said. … C Wil Nieves(notes) tested his strained left hamstring by throwing, blocking balls and swinging a bat before Tuesday’s game, but Nationals interim manager Jim Riggleman said he is still “a day or two away” from playing.

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