LOS ANGELES (AP) — Clayton Kershaw yielded six hits over seven dominant innings to earn his ninth victory in 10 starts, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Washington Nationals 4-1 Monday night for their fourth straight victory.
Washington scratched Stephen Strasburg about 80 minutes before game time due to an upper back strain, depriving Chavez Ravine of a tantalizing pitchers’ duel with Kershaw (11-1).
The Dodgers’ ace still added eight strikeouts to his major league-leading 141, fanning Bryce Harper three times. Kershaw didn’t walk a batter and got through a tricky seventh inning to remain unbeaten since May 1.
Kenley Jansen became the Dodgers’ career saves leader in the ninth. He surpassed Eric Gagne with his 162nd save, including 20 this season in 23 chances.
Anthony Rendon drove in the Nationals’ run in the seventh.
Late replacement Yusmeiro Petit (2-1) pitched six solid innings of five-hit ball in his first start for the NL East-leading Nationals, who have lost three straight.
Justin Turner homered and drove in two runs, and Joc Pederson also homered in the Dodgers’ sixth win in seven games.
The Dodgers went a season-high six games over .500 (39-33) on a scorching day in LA with another stellar start from Kershaw, who threw his first pitch in 96-degree heat.
Turner put the Dodgers ahead in the first with his 10th homer, including five in his last eight games.
After Corey Seager doubled and scored on Turner’s single in the fourth, Pederson connected in the fifth, driving his 13th homer down the right-field line.
Kershaw was his usual formidable self, using control and his vicious array of breaking pitches to full effect. Washington got its first runner to second base on Michael Taylor’s double in the sixth, but Kershaw ended the inning by striking out Jayson Werth and Harper.
Kershaw fanned Harper in the first, fourth and sixth, emphatically winning a duel of the last two NL MVPs.
The Nationals finally got to Kershaw with three singles in the seventh, including Rendon’s RBI hit to right. But Kershaw stranded two runners in scoring position with a pair of fly balls to left, and he walked off the mound to a standing ovation.
Chase Utley added an RBI single in the seventh for Los Angeles.
Nationals: Strasburg’s injury meant Washington had to use a starter who wasn’t in their opening day rotation for the first time this season. Strasburg pitched just 127 innings last season due to various injuries, but had been healthy this year.
Dodgers: OF Yasiel Puig will be activated from the disabled list Tuesday, manager Dave Roberts said. Puig has missed 17 games with a strained left hamstring.
Nationals: Tanner Roark (6-4, 3.14 ERA) will start against the Dodgers for the first time on Tuesday night.
Dodgers: Scott Kazmir (5-3, 4.64 ERA) is unbeaten in his last five starts, striking out 35 batters in 26 innings.