WASHINGTON (AP) — The reigning National League champions are finally back to playing winning baseball.
Kike Hernandez and Yasiel Puig each hit two-run homers, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Washington Nationals 7-2 on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.
“They’ve been busting their tails and it just hasn’t shown fruits, but now it’s paying off,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “It was a big series. It was good for the guys to win three here.”
Los Angeles, after losing six consecutive games, has now won four straight overall and five of six over Washington this season.
Hernandez’s blast off Stephen Strasburg in the fifth inning put the Dodgers up 3-2. Yasmani Grandal also homered off Strasburg (5-4), who allowed three runs and five hits over 6 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts. His two homers allowed matched a season high.
“I gave everything I had and I just wasn’t good enough today,” Strasburg said.
Alex Wood (1-4) pitched six innings, allowing three hits and two earned runs. Wood came out to start the seventh, but returned to the clubhouse after dealing with left leg cramps during his warm-up tosses. The left-hander did not believe the injury to be serious.
“I felt pretty good today,” Wood said. “Had command of the three (pitches) for the most part.”
Trea Turner homered for Washington, which swept Arizona last weekend and then went five days without playing a full game because of rain before getting swept by the Dodgers.
Washington’s Juan Soto, at 19 the youngest active player in the majors, made his debut in the eighth as a pinch-hitter and struck out against Erik Goeddel.
The Dodgers added two runs in the ninth. Josh Fields recorded the final four outs for his second save in three opportunities.
Bryce Harper went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. Harper finished 1-for-10 with five strikeouts in the three-game series and is batting a season-low .224.
Soto played for three teams in the minors this season and hit a combined .362 with 14 homers and 52 RBIs. He became the first 19-year-old to make his major league debut since Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias in 2016. The only previous Nationals player to reach the big leagues at 19 was Bryce Harper in 2012. The Nats’ outfield has been hit hard by injuries, most recently Howie Kendrick’s ruptured Achilles tendon on Saturday, which helped to clear a path for Soto. “He’s going to get a chance to play,” manager Dave Martinez said. “I want to put him in situations where he can succeed.”
Dodgers: Los Angeles placed RHP Rich Hill on the 10-day disabled list a day after a blister burst on his left middle finger. The 38-year-old was on the DL twice earlier this season with the same injury. … Los Angeles recalled ambidextrous reliever Pat Venditte from Oklahoma City to take Hill’s roster spot and optioned right-hander Yimi Garcia to the Triple-A team. … LHP Clayton Kershaw threw about 30 pitches Sunday in a bullpen session. Kershaw has been on the DL since May 6 with left biceps tendinitis.
Nationals: RHP Ryan Madson (chest strain) was placed on the disabled list retroactive to May 17 and will have an MRI on Monday. … Strasburg received a mound visit from Martinez and a trainer with one out in the third inning after it appeared the three-time All-Star was having hamstring cramps. It turned out that Strasburg was just attempting to wipe away sweat from his uniform.
Dodgers: Los Angeles returns home on Monday. RHP Walker Buehler (2-1, 2.67 ERA) takes the mound against Colorado’s German Marquez (2-5, 5.15).
Nationals: Washington’s homestand continues on Monday as LHP Gio Gonzalez (4-2, 2.36) faces San Diego for the eighth time in his career. Gonzalez is 3-2 with a 3.21 ERA against the Padres. Robbie Erlin (1-2, 3.46) will make his second start for San Diego after 13 relief appearances.
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