Chase Utley, Justin Turner lead offense as Dodgers beat Nationals

first_imgWASHINGTON, D.C. >> While they play Jenga with their starting rotation – Hyun-Jin Ryu and Clayton Kershaw are the latest pieces pulled out – the Dodgers are showing no signs of collapsing.They roughed up rookie Reynaldo Lopez in his major-league debut Tuesday night on their way to an 8-4 victory over the Washington Nationals.It was their 12th victory in 18 games since Kershaw made his most recent (and last for awhile) start on June 26 in Pittsburgh. They have gained 3-1/2 games on the first-place San Francisco Giants in that time, moving to within 4-1/2 games with Tuesday’s win (and a Giants loss). That is the closest the Dodgers have been to first place since June 12.The offense has done most of the work in that time and reported early Tuesday. Chase Utley hit the third pitch of Lopez’s big-league career into the stands for a leadoff home run. That was the first of three RBI in the game for Utley. Kazmir didn’t need all of it Tuesday – so the bullpen used it instead.He held the Nationals scoreless until giving up a solo home run to Jose Lobaton in the fifth. That was the only run and one of only four hits allowed by Kazmir in seven innings. He was only the second Dodgers starter to complete seven innings since June 20. Kenta Maeda also went seven against the San Diego Padres on July 10.Kazmir handed a 7-1 lead over to Chris Hatcher who promptly put some drama back into the game by failing to retire any of the three batters he faced in the eighth inning. All three came in to score before the Dodgers closed it out. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorcenter_img Three more hits followed with a two-run single by Joc Pederson in his first at-bat back from the DL capping a three-run first inning for the Dodgers.The Dodgers added a single run in the second (an RBI single by Utley) and two more in the fifth on RBI singles by Adrian Gonzalez and Yasiel Puig. Utley drove in his third run of the night with a single in the eighth inning.Utley, Howie Kendrick and Justin Turner combined at the top of the order for eight of the Dodgers’ 13 hits and scored five of their seen runs. While Turner and Utley had three-hit games, Kendrick had two – his fourth multi-hit game in the past five and part of an 11-game hitting streak during which he has gone 20 for 44 and raised his batting average 35 points to .274.That was a typically robust performance by the Dodgers in support of starter Scott Kazmir.The Dodgers have scored 102 runs in his 19 starts, an average of nealry 5.5 runs per start.last_img

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