In a battle of top teams in the National League, the Washington Nationals were just to much for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Denard Span and two others combined for four homers to power the Nationals to a 6-4 win.
The Dodgers had a look at the game in the bottom of the ninth when they brought the winning run to the plate in the form of Joc Pederson making his major league debut. The 22-year-old followed a Carl Crawford run scoring single to bring the Dodgers within two runs with runners on first and third. But after working a full count, Pederson would go down looking at what was a borderline strike to end the game.
Roberto Hernandez entered Monday night with a spotless 2-0 record this season against the Nationals with only an unearned run allowed in 15 1/3 innings. The success ended as the Nationals flexed their muscle early and often against the big right-hander.
The Nats had clubbed 38 homers in the previous 24 games leading to their display of power against the Dodgers. Hernandez had only given up four homers in his last 13 starts and only seven since April 29. Something had to give and it ended up being Hernandez.
Jayson Werth deposited the seventh pitch of his first inning at-bat into the seats in center field to quickly give the Nationals a quick 1-0 lead. But the Dodgers answered right back in the home half of the opening frame.
Matt Kemp took a Gio Gonzalez fastball the opposite way with a man aboard to put the Dodgers in front 2-1. It would be the last time the Dodgers would have the lead on the night.
Asdrubal Cabrera opened the third inning with a fly ball that carried out over the wall in left center to tie the game. And then two batters later Span started his big night with a solo homer to right.
Span knocked Hernandez from the game in the fifth when he got ahold of a first pitch sinker for his second homer of the night. With only one out in the fifth Hernandez would be lifted for Chris Perez who was activated from the disabled list prior to the game.
Gonzalez held the Dodgers in check for most of the night giving up only three hits –two to Kemp — when he was lifted after back-to-back singles to start the bottom of the seventh. The one time closer Drew Storen would get out of the inning allowing a Juan Uribe RBI-single but preserving a three-run lead.
Clayton Kershaw will try to get his team back on track when he takes the mound Tuesday to protect the Dodgers shrinking lead of two games in the NL West.
WP: Gio Gonzalez (7-9, 3.89)
LP: Roberto Hernandez (8-10, 4.00)
S: Rafael Soriano (31)
-Yasiel Puig was moved to the sixth spot in the lineup for the first time in his career Monday. He was 0-for-4 and is now just 6-for-48 (.125) in his last 13 games.
-Yimi Garcia made his major league debut out of the bullpen pitching two scoreless innings giving up just a hit while striking out one.