Dunn’s 2 3-run HRs help Nats beat Dodgers
“Adam Dunn is obviously a very strong hitter and he’s got as much power as anyone in the game, so he can hit pitches that aren’t necessarily hitter’s pitches and still drive them out,” Dodgers catcher Brad Ausmus(notes) said. “You’d certainly like to have him in the lineup. Either way, I wish somebody had claimed him and he wasn’t playing for the Nationals tonight.”
The non-roster trading deadline definitely was a pitchers market, and none of the high-profile sluggers in the majors changed teams. So general manager Mike Rizzo and manager Jim Riggleman are glad they still have a dangerous cleanup hitter.
“We value Adam so highly, it’s going to take a lot for somebody to come in and get him,” Riggleman said. “As Mike said, any offer he gets is going to have to overwhelm him—and nothing overwhelmed him.”
The Nationals got the jump on Kershaw (10-7) in the first when Dunn pulled a 3-2 pitch an estimated 460 feet and just inside the right-field foul pole after a single by Ian Desmond(notes) and a walk to Ryan Zimmerman(notes).
Two innings later, Desmond drew a leadoff walk, Zimmerman singled and Dunn pulled an 0-1 delivery off the bottom of the screen attached to the pole for his 30th homer and 29th career multihomer game.
“The second home run I hit was pure good luck on my part, to be honest,” Dunn said. “It was a great pitch and just a terrible swing. I mean, my butt was out to there, but I just got the barrel to it.”
Dunn, the only left-handed bat in Washington’s starting lineup besides pitcher John Lannan(notes), has five multihomer games this year and a league-best 60 extra-base hits. It’s his seventh consecutive season with 30 or more homers. Dunn’s other six-RBI game was on May 24, 2009, when he hit two homers against Baltimore—including a go-ahead grand slam.
“That’s how home runs come for me—in bunches,” said Dunn, who has six in his last six games. “I mean, I’ll go three weeks and not hit one, and then I’ll go a week where I hit five or six of them. That’s the story of my life.”
Lannan (3-5) allowed three runs and five hits over six innings in his second start since returning from a six-week stint with Double-A Harrisburg. It was the left-hander’s first victory with the big league club since May 28 at San Diego.
Kershaw allowed seven hits in six innings and struck out nine. The 22-year-old lefty gave up two homers in a game for the fourth time in 74 major league starts, and first since April 26, 2009, at Colorado.
“Dunn’s only up there looking to do one thing. When you fall behind in the count, it makes it easier for him to do,” Kershaw said. “The home runs really don’t bother me. They were solidly hit. What bothers me is that I put two runners on base ahead of them. Two solo home runs is something we can come back from. But digging a 6-0 hole makes it impossible to come back.”
Kershaw came in with an opponents’ batting average of .197 in home games since the start of the 2009 season, lowest in the majors.
“We were facing one of the best in the game tonight, and we knew coming in that it was going to be a tough task to score runs,” said Dunn, who has seven hits in 11 career at-bats against Kershaw. “He’s really good and he’s only going to get better. Our goal was to kind of put pressure on him early. We had some great at-bats early and got his pitch count up a little bit.”
The Dodgers sliced the deficit to 6-3 in the fourth. Ryan Theriot(notes) reached on a leadoff single before Andre Ethier(notes) connected for his 18th homer. Casey Blake(notes) added an RBI single after James Loney(notes) walked and advanced on a passed ball by 13-time Gold Glove winner Ivan Rodriguez(notes).
The Nationals had a chance to score in the sixth, but Josh Willingham(notes) played it safe on Alberto Gonzalez’s(notes) one-out fly ball to right fielder Ethier with two men in scoring position and the pitcher on deck. Kershaw then struck out Lannan.
NOTES: Nationals assistant trainer Mike McGowen was struck on the right cheek by an overthrown ball that knocked him to the dugout floor during warmups before the bottom of the first inning. He then was led away to the clubhouse. … Nationals drawing card Stephen Strasburg(notes), scheduled to return to the rotation on Tuesday after missing three turns because of stiffness in his right shoulder, will have a pitch limit of 90 against the Florida Marlins. … Former Dodgers and Montreal Expos general manager Kevin Malone turned 53 years old Friday. … The Nationals selected the contract of OF Kevin Mench(notes) from Triple-A Syracuse, a day after CF Nyjer Morgan(notes) was put on the 15-day disabled list because of a sore right hip. … The Dodgers and their Double-A Chattanooga club in the Southern League extended their player development contract through the 2014 season.