The Dodgers rallied early but otherwise couldn't quite solve Stephen Strasburg, dropping the finale of their three-game series to the Nationals, 3-2 on Wednesday afternoon. The Dodgers offense was summed up by a pair of 10-pitch at-bats from their first baseman.
Adrian Gonzalez had a single to end a 10-pitch at-bat in the first inning that keyed the Dodgers' only scoring rally of the game. In the eighth inning, down a run with Dee Gordon on second and Hanley Ramirez on first base with one out, Gonzalez had another 10-pitch at-bat, this time against Jerry Blevins. But it ended with a foul pop out to third base.
Yasiel Puig followed with a hard line drive to center field against Tyler Clippard, hit hard enough to induce a bat flip from Puig, but it was right at center fielder Denard Span to end the inning.
Both teams scored two runs on four hits in the first inning, but under wildly different circumstances. The Dodgers strung together consecutive singles from Carl Crawford, Ramirez, Gonzalez and Yasiel Puig to plate their two runs.
The Nationals, however, played wall ball against Dan Haren. After a leadoff single by Denard Span, Anthony Rendon followed with a would-be double that Crawford managed to track down in left field for one out. But then Jayson Werth doubled off the center field wall to put runners on second and third, Adam Laroche lined a ball off the top of the right field wall to tie the game but settled for a single with his sore quad. Wilson Ramos, fresh off the disabled list, hit one off the left field wall for a double, but his ball had the decency to bounce first before reaching the wall.
Haren walked Ian Desmond to load the bases with one out, but was able to escape with no further damage by striking out Danny Espinosa and getting Kevin Frandsen to pop out to second base.
Haren settled down after the first, though he graduated from the Jeff Weaver school of bad body language on the mound. On several occasions during the SportsNet LA broadcast, analyst Orel Hershiser pointed out just how uncomfortable Haren looked on the mound, even speculating that the right-hander was trying to stretch out tightness in either his back or hamstrings.
Despite struggling for most of his start, Haren battled though six innings, allowing one more run on a sacrifice fly in the fifth. But that was enough.
Strasburg threw 28 pitches in the first inning, but allowed just two hits and a walk from the second through the seventh, and pitched into the eighth for his third win of the year.
Rafael Soriano pitched a perfect ninth for his seventh save of the year.
The start of the game was delayed by rain, with a first pitch an hour and 40 minutes after originally planned.
Crawford was 2-for-4, his third straight multi-hit game, and is 10-for-17 (.588) in his last five games.
Puig was 1-for-3 with a walk, extending his hitting streak to seven games, hitting .433 (13-for-30) during the streak.
Gordon stole second base in the eighth inning, his 20th stolen base of the season to lead all of baseball. Crawford led the 2013 Dodgers with 15 steals.
Dodgers starting pitchers on the road trip, including a pair of Triple-A spot starts, had a 3.46 ERA in nine starts, with 42 strikeouts and 14 walks in 52 innings.
The Dodgers return home after a three-city road trip that saw them fly over 6,200 miles, play nine games in eight days, have one game rained out and have two more games delayed by nearly five total hours. A seven-game homestand begins Thursday night at Dodger Stadium, with Josh Beckett starting for the Dodgers against Ryan Vogelsong for the Giants.
Home runs: none
WP - Stephen Strasburg (3-2): 7⅓ IP, 7 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts
LP - Dan Haren (4-1): 6 P, 7 hits, 3 runs, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts
Sv - Rafael Soriano (7): 1 IP, 2 strikeouts