The Los Angeles Dodgers bounced back and avoided a shutout as they poured in six runs in the first inning during a 7-1 victory over the Washington Nationals on Wednesday afternoon at Dodgers Stadium.
Gavin Lux had three hits and drove in two runs, while Mookie Betts finished with two hits for the Dodgers, reaching base four times.
Los Angeles improved to 65-32 and currently holds the second best record in baseball after winning 20 of their last 24 games. The major league-worst Nationals fell to 34-66 on the season and saw their two-game winning streak snapped with the loss.
The Dodgers’ 65th win of the season tied the season series with the Nationals at 3-3.
“Overall, on our side of things, a solid game,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “Offensively, I think we’re getting really good with the at-bats … just continuing to try to manage guys’ workloads, but keep that edge.”
Dodgers starting pitcher Andrew Heaney returned to the lineup from a shoulder injury and threw four hits over four innings, allowing just one hit before leaving on a pitch count.
“It’s pretty remarkable,” Roberts said. “When he’s healthy and out there, he doesn’t get a lot of hits. He doesn’t usually walk guys and has a lot of swing and misses. There are a lot of good ingredients when he’s there. Our expectation is that in six days he will immediately return there.
“It’s always fun to watch him play,” Lux said of Heaney. “We didn’t get to see much of him this year but when he was there he was nasty … nothing new about him today, he looked great and it was great to see him again.”
Heaney was limited to 71 pitches in his first start and looks to gradually pick up speed as he continues to take the mound.
“I’m a little annoyed with myself that I had a couple of long innings,” Heaney said. “It puts a strain on the bull. … I haven’t played more than two games in a row this year, so I want to get into that flow.”
Justin Turner also returned to the lineup from an abdominal injury and had an RBI single in the first inning.
“Having those guys back is certainly helpful,” Roberts said.
Nationals starting pitcher Patrick Corbin struggled against his first 10 batters and gave up seven hits and one walk while striking out just two on 45 pitches.
“After the 40th pitch, I started to worry a little bit,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “I didn’t want him to get hurt. … He throws the ball well, but he just doesn’t finish.”
Corbin drove in Will Smith after a double by Betts, and Turner had an RBI single to score. Trayce Thompson drove in Smith with another single, and Hanser Alberto’s double allowed two more runs to reach home plate.
Austin Barnes then added to the hit streak with a single of his own and Lux doubled to right field to bring in another run to give the Dodgers a commanding 6-0 lead.
Luis Garcia drove in Washington’s lone run in the seventh on a groundout double off Dodgers right-hander Jake Reed.
The Dodgers went on to get some more insurance in the eighth on a leadoff hit by Thompson and Lux connected on his third hit of the game on an RBI single to complete the 7-1 win.
“I try to stick to my plan and my approach,” Lux said of his three-hit outing. “We had 11 hits; I always say that hitting is contagious, so today it happened again.”
Los Angeles will then prepare for an eight-game road trip, starting with the Dodgers against the Colorado Rockies on Thursday at 5:40 p.m.
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