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Opportunistic Dodgers salvage finale vs. Nationals

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MLB: Washington Nationals at Los Angeles Dodgers Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Wednesday’s pitching matchup delivered as advertised, and the Dodgers took advantage of the opportunities presented to them, salvaging the finale against the Nationals, 2-1 at Dodger Stadium.

Clayton Kershaw struck out nine in seven innings of work, allowing only one run, and the only surprise was that he didn’t pitch even longer.

Kershaw batted in the seventh inning and struck out to end the inning, but even though he only threw 95 pitches did not remain in the game to pitch the eighth inning. Understandably, Kershaw didn’t seem pleased with the decision in the dugout, and that simmer turned to a boil when speedster Trea Turner led off the inning with a triple against Pedro Baez.

Clinging to a one-run lead and the tying run 90 feet away, Baez got Ryan Raburn swinging, then made a tremendous stab of a grounder by Bryce Harper. Baez had Turner caught in a rundown between third and home, and even finished off the tag himself in the pickle.

Not only did that play severely neuter the Nationals’ rally, but Harper didn’t even take advantage of the rundown time to get to second base.

Kenley Jansen was summoned to pitch to Ryan Zimmerman, who homered earlier for the only run against Kershaw, and got him to ground out to end the frame.

Jansen recorded his 10th save of the season, five of which have been of the four-out variety, matching his total saves of more than one inning for all of 2016.

Stephen Strasburg held the Dodgers scoreless until the sixth, when Corey Seager drove a ball over the center field wall to tie the score at 1-1. Then, the Dodgers took advantage.

With two outs, Adrian Gonzalez struck out but reached base on a passed ball by catcher Jose Lobaton. Another passed ball moved Gonzalez into scoring position, then Yasmani Grandal doubled to left center to give the Dodgers their first lead of the series.

Strasburg struck out eight but was done after the laborious sixth inning that saw him throw 35 pitches.

Notes

At the plate, Strasburg drew one of three walks against a surprisingly wild Kershaw, and was the first pitcher walked by Kershaw since Jon Gray on Sept. 14, 2015.

The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Dodgers.

Jansen’s save was the 199th of his career.

Up next

The Dodgers are off Thursday before welcoming the Reds to town for three games this weekend.

Wednesday particulars

Home runs: Corey Seager (8); Ryan Zimmerman (17)

WP - Clayton Kershaw (8-2): 7 IP, 3 hits, 1 run, 3 walks, 9 strikeouts

LP - Stephen Strasburg (7-2): 6 IP, 3 hits, 2 runs (1 earned), 1 walk, 8 strikeouts

Sv - Kenley Jansen (10): 1⅓ IP, 1 hit, 1 strikeout