LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com/AP) — Denard Span hit two of Washington’s four homers, Gio Gonzalez got his first victory of the second half and the Nationals beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-4 Monday night in a matchup of division leaders.
The East-leading Nationals (78-58) own the NL’s best record while the Dodgers (77-61) are atop the West and close behind in pursuit of the top seed, despite losing for the third time in four games.
Gonzalez (7-9) allowed three runs and three hits in six-plus innings. The left-hander was 0-5 with a 4.38 ERA in his previous nine games.
He also doubled and scored on Anthony Rendon’s double off Brandon League in the seventh.
Matt Kemp managed a 2-run homer in the first inning, marking his 10th RBI in his last nine games, but that lasted as the only hit through the first six innings.
Rafael Soriano pitched a shaky ninth to earn his 31st save. He yielded an RBI single to Juan Uribe, after the ball skipped by the mound and caromed off second base, allowing Yasiel Puig to score.
The Dodgers then had runners on the corners with two outs but Joc Pederson took a called third strike in his major league debut.
Roberto Hernandez (2-2) gave up five runs and five hits — including a career-high four homers — in 4 1-3 innings. The right-hander came in 2-0 against the Nationals, having allowed just an unearned run in 15 1-3 innings in two starts against them while pitching for Philadelphia before being acquired by the Dodgers last month.
The Nationals ended August with 40 homers, second-best in the major leagues behind Baltimore. They picked up where they left off to start the final month of the regular season, with Jayson Werth and Asdrubal Cabrera adding solo shots.
Span’s second homer, a two-run shot on the first pitch he faced in the fifth, extended Washington’s lead to 5-2. That chased Hernandez, who had walked Cabrera to start the inning before striking out Gonzalez.
Werth hit his 16th homer with two outs in the first.
The Dodgers got a two-out homer in the bottom of the first by Matt Kemp to take a 2-1 lead.
Cabrera tied it at 2 with a leadoff drive in the third. One batter later, Span hit his first homer of the game.
Washington’s Bryce Harper had one hit in four at-bats and struck out twice after hitting three homers over the weekend at Seattle.
Nationals: OF Steven Souza Jr. (left shoulder) returned from rehab and was reinstated to the active roster. He was named International League MVP last week, having led the league in nearly every offensive category.
Dodgers: RHP Chris Perez (bone spurs, right ankle) was reinstated from the 15-day DL after making five rehab appearances with Single-A Rancho Cucamonga. INF Carlos Triunfel was designated for assignment.
Nationals: With rosters expanding Monday, Washington recalled RHP Aaron Barrett, LHP Xavier Cedeno, C Sandy Leon, INF-OF Tyler Moore and RHP Blake Treinen from Triple-A Syracuse.
Dodgers: Los Angeles recalled C Tim Federowicz, RHP Yimi Garcia, and INF-OF Alex Guerrero from Triple-A Albuquerque and selected the contract of OF Pederson from Albuquerque. Guerrero struck out as a pinch hitter and Garcia made his major league debut in the eighth.
Nationals: RHP Doug Fister (12-5, 2.55 ERA) starts. Fister is 0-2 with a 3.86 ERA in his last three starts.
Dodgers: LHP Clayton Kershaw (16-3, 1.73) starts. Among NL pitchers with at least 15 decisions, Kershaw and Fister (.706) rank first and second in winning percentage.
(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)