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Ross Stripling has career day in Dodgers’ win over Nationals

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9 strikeouts a career high for Stripling.

MLB: Game One-Los Angeles Dodgers at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Armed with a 12-to-6 curveball and command of all his pitches on Saturday, Ross Stripling had success up and down the Nationals lineup, leading the Dodgers to a 4-1 win in the first game of a split doubleheader in Washington D.C.

Stripling was stellar in his starting role, striking out a career-high nine and walking none in his six innings. He allowed a run on just four singles, three of which were bunched together in the third inning. Stripling was pitching so well he remained in the game for the heart of the order in the sixth inning, even after already reaching a season-high 82 pitches in the first five innings.

Stripling struck out all three batters he faced in the sixth — Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon and Matt Adams — including two left-handed batters. Stripling struck out his first three batters of the game and his last five batters faced.

The best two strikeout games of Stripling’s career are his last two starts, including seven in his last start.

Stripling in May has 22 strikeouts against only two walks in 16⅓ innings, with a 1.65 ERA. He hasn’t yet allowed an extra-base hit this month.

Three dog day

Joc Pederson led off the game with a long battle against Tanner Roark, and on the 10th pitch hit a hard ground ball inside first base and down the right field line for a triple. He scored on a sacrifice fly by Yasmani Grandal.

It was the Dodgers’ 13th plate appearance with at least 10 pitches this season, most in the majors. Including Pederson’s triple, they are 3-for-11 (.273) with two walks in those battles.

Pederson in his first three-plus years in the majors had one triple in 1,422 plate appearances. He has three triples in 2018, in 122 PA.

Extra effort

Max Muncy doubled home a run in the sixth inning his fourth game with a double in his last five starts. He has five extra-base hits (four doubles, a home run) in 41 plate appearances in May. Muncy also drove home a second run with a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning, during which old friend Howie Kendrick in left field injured his right leg in the process and had to be carted off the field.

The Dodgers put the leadoff man on with singles in four different innings on Saturday, and all four scored.

Timbuk3

Bryce Harper entered Saturday tied for the National League lead with 13 home runs, and doesn’t turn 26 until October. He will be the most coveted free agent this winter, with a future so bright he has to wear not one, but two pairs of shades.

Yes, I am aware the clear pair aren’t really shades, but hear me out. Harper by his second at-bat ditched the woodshop specs and delivered a two-out single to center field to tie the game at 1-1.

Teapot Domed

Cody Bellinger struck out in the third inning, but during the at-bat was hit in the helmet by a throw back to the mound by catcher Spencer Kieboom, making his first major league start behind the plate.

The throw hit Bellinger on the side of his helmet, which twisted it a bit on his head, but he was okay, even smiling immediately afterward. He remained in the game.

Up next

One more game is coming tonight, a 5:05 p.m. PT start for the nightcap, with Rich Hill starting for the Dodgers and Max Scherzer on the mound for the Nationals.

Saturday Game 1 particulars

Home runs: none

WP - Ross Stripling (1-1): 6 IP, 4 hits, 1 run, 9 strikeouts

LP - Tanner Roark (2-4): 7 IP, 6 hits, 3 runs, 1 walk, 8 strikeouts

Sv - Kenley Jansen (7): 1 IP, zeroes