LOS ANGELES (AP) — Gio Gonzalez scattered seven hits over eight scoreless innings, Ian Desmond hit two homers, and the Washington Nationals kicked off a 10-game trip with an 8-3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday night.
Gonzalez (9-4) struck out six, walked one and stranded eight runners, helping the Nationals remain 1 1-2 games behind the NL East-leading New York Mets.
The left-hander, who won 21 games for Washington in 2012 after coming over from Oakland in a trade, is 5-0 with a 1.48 ERA in eight starts since losing 6-1 at Tampa Bay on June 15.
Brett Anderson (6-7) was charged with seven runs and 10 hits through five-plus innings in a matchup of pitchers who specialize in getting ground balls.
Carl Crawford hit a three-run shot in the ninth inning off Doug Fister the first pinch-hit homer of his career.
Los Angeles’ lead over idle San Francisco in the NL West was reduced to 2 1-2 games in the opener of a seven-game homestand, which followed a three-game sweep in Pittsburgh. The Dodgers’ four-game losing streak is their first since Sept. 2-13. They were the only team this season that hadn’t lost more than three straight.
Desmond gave the Nats a 2-0 lead in the second, driving a 1-0 pitch into the lower seats in the left field corner after a leadoff double by Ryan Zimmerman. He added his 14h homer in the eighth, a leadoff shot off J.P. Howell.
None of Desmond’s last 28 home runs have come with more than one man on base since his three-run shot on May 20, 2014, against Texas’ Colby Lewis at Nationals Park.
Anderson failed to retire any of the seven batters he faced in the Nationals’ five-run sixth, which increased the lead to 7-0. Zimmerman doubled home a run, former Dodger Jayson Werth followed with a two-run double over the head of rookie center fielder Kike Hernandez, and Michael Taylor chased the left-hander with an RBI single.
Dodgers second baseman Howie Kendrick, who scored at least one run in nine of the team’s previous 10 games, was placed on the 15-day disabled list less than 24 hours after straining his left hamstring running out an infield hit.
Jose Peraza, promoted from Triple-A Oklahoma City to fill the roster spot, started at second in his big league debut and went 1 for 3 with a walk batting second. His first hit came on a blooper to right field that bounced over Bryce Harper’s glove for a triple as he attempted to make a sliding catch.
Yasiel Puig stranded Peraza when he struck out on a pitch in the dirt. But the Dodgers’ mercurial right fielder robbed Yunel Escobar of an RBI double in the fifth with a diving catch going full-speed toward the line after Taylor singled and advanced on a sacrifice by Gonzalez.
The Dodgers had at least one hit in each of the first six innings, but couldn’t bunch enough of them together.
Dodgers: 1B Adrian Gonzalez, who leads the club in homers and RBIs and had experienced a stiff neck during the trip, got the night off following the long plane flight on Sunday night. . The club voided the option of RHP Carlos Frias and returned him to the DL, retroactive to Aug. 2, with tightness in his lower back.
Nationals: RHP Joe Ross (3-3, 2.80) has 47 strikeouts in 45 innings, and has pitched at least six innings in each of his last six outings. Last Thursday, he held Arizona to a run through six innings in an 8-3 win at Washington.
Dodgers: RHP Zack Greinke (11-2) gave up a season-worst six runs over six innings last Thursday at Philadelphia in a 10-8 win, raising his ERA from 1.41 to 1.71 — which still leads the majors. It was only the second time in his last 17 starts that he allowed more than two runs.
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