LOS ANGELES -- Runs and hits were at a premium on Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium, but the Dodgers had a trump card in ace Clayton Kershaw, who dealt a winning hand in a 3-0 victory over the Nationals.
Kershaw struck out eight and walked none, throwing 101 pitches in his eight scoreless innings. He allowed just three hits. It was the fifth time in his last six starts Kershaw lasted at least eight innings.
"I had pretty decent command of the fastball, got some quick outs," Kershaw said.
Kershaw retired the first 16 batters of the game before Michael Taylor doubled to the warning track in center field, over the head of Joc Pederson. In a 1-0 game, Taylor might have scored the tying run on a two-out ground ball up the middle by Yunel Escobar, but Kiké Hernandez made a fantastic diving stop and throw to retire a sliding Escobar at first base to end the inning and keep the Nationals scoreless.
Washington tried to mount a threat in the seventh inning, when Anthony Rendon led off with a single to left field. But Kershaw mowed down the heart of the Nationals order, striking out Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth in succession to end the frame.
Taylor singled again in the eighth inning with one out, but was stranded.
"It just seemed like everything was sharp tonight, especially with location," manager Don Mattingly said. "Tonight it came out easy."
Kershaw flirted with perfection earlier this season, retiring his first 18 batters faced on July 23 against the Mets in New York, before Curtis Granderson broke up the perfect game and the no-hitter with a line drive single to right field to open up the seventh inning.
Jordan Zimmermann was nearly as stingy as Kershaw, also allowing three runners to reach base in his seven innings, but two were grouped together.
Pederson led off the third inning with a walk in a 10-pitch plate appearance, then advanced to second base on a ground ball. One out later, leadoff man Carl Crawford singled to left field to score Pederson for a 1-0 lead.
"The way he's pitching you just want to try to get a run across for him," Crawford said.
Pederson was hit by a pitch in the eiighth inning against Drew Storen, then advanced to third on Andre Ethier's double to right field. But on the relay, Rendon uncorked a throw well beyond home plate and into the stands, allowing both runners to advance two bases per MLB rule 7.05 (g), giving the Dodgers two more runs and a 3-0 advantage.
Kershaw and Zack Greinke this season have combined to pitch 30 scoreless innings against the Nationals this season, with 39 strikeouts against only 15 hits and two walks allowed. Both walks by Greinke.
In his last 14 starts, Kershaw has allowed 18 total runs, putting up a 1.30 ERA with 132 strikeouts and 14 walks in 103⅔ innings. His 205 strikeouts lead the majors, his sixth straight season with 200 or more strikeouts.
Home runs: none
WP - Clayton Kershaw (10-6): 8 IP, 3 hits, 8 strikeouts
LP - Jordan Zimmermann (8-8): 7 IP, 2 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 9 strikeouts
Sv - Kenley Jansen (22): 1 IP, 2 strikeouts