WASHINGTON -- The Dodgers showed on Thursday afternoon that right-hander Stephen Strasburg is not invincible, as Justin Turner took the Nats ace deep twice to lead Los Angeles to a 6-3 win at Nationals Park. The Dodgers won two out of three games in the series.
After starting the season 13-0, Strasburg picked up his first loss of the season. The righty lasted six innings, allowed six runs on seven hits and fanned 10 batters. It marked the eighth time this season that Strasburg has struck out at least 10 in a game. Thursday marked just the second game this season that the Nats lost when Strasburg was on the mound. The first was on June 4 against the Reds in a game in which he allowed three runs in 5 1/3 innings. The last time Strasburg lost a decision was September 9 against the Mets.
"There have been games where I thought I deserved the loss, and the team picked me up. I couldn't get it done today," said Strasburg. "I'm going to learn from it and hopefully get back out there and give the team a better chance to win."
Turner tagged Strasburg for a two-run homer in the first and a three-run shot in the third. In the first, he sent a 3-2 pitch into the left-field seats to drive in Adrian Gonzalez, who had doubled.
"I got to a 3-2 count, and [Strasburg] threw me a cutter," Turner said. "He'd thrown me a couple earlier in the at-bat, and that one he just left up a little bit over the middle of the plate."
Two innings later, the Dodgers added four more runs, three courtesy of Turner's second homer. After that, Strasburg retired 12 out of the next 13 hitters he faced.
"I make decent pitches and they hit it. Sometimes, I make bad pitches and they hit it as well," Strasburg said. "I just tried to battle out there today. I left on a high note. It's something I'm going to hold on to."
Left-handed rookie Julio Urias started for Los Angeles, and he pitched four innings, giving up one run on Bryce Harper's first-inning sac fly. Urias, who is only 19 years old and has hardly pitched this month, threw only 77 pitches before handing the game to the bullpen. After Urias left, the Dodgers used seven relievers, who combined to give up two runs on five hits. Adam Liberatore ended up getting the victory.
"To get Julio in, we haven't seen him in a while, so to give us four innings and get up to the 75-pitch mark, and for the 'pen to do what they did today, it wasn't pretty, but we found a way to get five innings," manager Dave Roberts said.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Turning up the power: Just an hour into the afternoon, Turner already had his fourth career multihomer game and his first game in which he recorded at least five RBIs since May 15, 2011. Turner has been the Dodgers' hottest hitter over the last few weeks, raising his batting average from .247 to .267 since June 29, while hitting six home runs during that span. More >
"I've felt healthy all year. I don't know what was going on those first two months," Turner said. "I feel good, feel comfortable, and am obviously getting better results."
Having trouble scoring runs: The Nationals went 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position. In the seventh inning, Washington had runners on first and second with two out and the tying run at the plate. But Joe Blanton was able to get Chris Heisey to fly out to Scott Van Slyke to end the threat.
"We had opportunities to get back in that game," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. "It seems like most of the year, that two-out RBI hit has eluded us. I still feel positive that we will get a bunch of them.
"The thing about it is, [the Dodgers] were running into a very dangerous situation. They were down to their last pitcher. Had we got back in that game, then it would have been a challenge. Then [the media] would have asked why did [the Dodgers] use all those pitchers? But they went for it, and they got away with it."
Urias evades trouble: After throwing only one inning over the past 16 days, Urias got into trouble early, putting two men on in both the first and second innings. Key strikeouts of Anthony Rendon in the first and Trea Turner in the second helped Urias escape the jams and finish with a solid line of one run allowed in four innings. More >
"[Urias] gave us everything he had, and that was good to see," Roberts said. "We knew we were going to have to eat some innings today."
The Nationals pulled off a double steal in the first inning, with Trea Turner beating A.J. Ellis' throw to third base. The Dodgers, thinking Turner's hand had come off the bag, challenged the call, but the call stood. Later in that at-bat, Harper drove Turner home with a sac fly to left field.
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With the pinch-hit double in the eighth inning, Jayson Werth has now reached base safely in 25 straight games, the longest active streak in Major League Baseball.
WHAT'S NEXT Dodgers: The Dodgers travel to St. Louis for a three-game series with the Cardinals starting Friday. In the first game, Los Angeles will start Brandon McCarthy, who has been excellent since returning from Tommy John surgery earlier this month. The veteran righty has allowed eight hits and three runs in 16 innings, while striking out 22. First pitch is scheduled for 5:15 p.m. PT.
Nationals: The Nationals begin a three-game series against the Padres starting Friday at 7:05 p.m. ET. Washington will call on righty Tanner Roark. No pitcher in the Majors has thrown at least seven or more shutout innings more often than Roark, who has done it six times this season. He is coming off one of his best outings of the year, when he threw eight shutout innings against the Pirates.