WASHINGTON -- Clayton Kershaw was on top of his game Saturday afternoon, but the All-Star left-hander figured it was useless to try and talk manager Don Mattingly into letting him pitch the ninth inning.
"I don't think I had much of a choice today," Kershaw said with a smile. "Donnie is pretty adamant."
Mattingly said he wanted Kenley Jansen to get some work because the reliever last pitched July 12 against Milwaukee. Jansen gave up a two-run homer with one out in the ninth to Washington right fielder Bryce Harper, who now has 27 home runs this season, but got the next two batters to nail down the win for Kershaw.
In the suspended game that ended earlier Saturday, the Nationals won 5-3 when pinch-hitter Matt den Dekker broke a tie with a two-run homer in the eighth.
But the Nationals were no match for Kershaw (7-6) later in the day. He struck out two batters in each of the first seven innings and Harper, a fellow All-Star, all three times.
"Outs are outs. It doesn't matter who it is," Kershaw said of fanning Harper. "He is the guy in their lineup, obviously. It just takes one swing for him. I was trying not to give up a hit" to Harper.
The 14 strikeouts tied a Nationals Park record set by Stephen Strasburg in his debut on June 8, 2010. Kershaw became the first Dodgers pitcher to fan 13 batters two games in a row since Chan Ho Park in 2000.
"He put on a clinic today," Harper said of Kershaw. "Really went out there and pitched like the MVP he is, and it was pretty devastating because we tried to go in there and do what we could, but he's the best pitcher in baseball, so it's pretty tough."
Kershaw leads the National League with 174 strikeouts and has fanned 27 batters in his last two starts with no walks. His 100th pitch of the day was a curve at 73 mph for a called third strike against den Dekker with two outs in the eighth.
"Obviously, all of his stuff was good," Mattingly said of Kershaw. "Just continuing on what he has been doing. It seems like he has been like this. I think the heat, he likes (it). He gets stronger as the season goes. That slider disappears. Today it looked like he had a little bit of both" with the slider and curve.
Kershaw got more than enough offensive support as third baseman Justin Turner and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez each had three hits, and second baseman Howie Kendrick and right fielder Yasiel Puig (two RBIs) each had two for the Dodgers.
"If we can do that every day, we can work with that," Mattingly said.
The Dodgers (52-40), with 13 hits, improved to 11-7 against the National League East. The Nationals (49-40) lost for only the third time in 12 games to a NL West team.
More bad news for the Nationals was that second baseman Danny Espinosa, a key player this season, left the game in the top of the ninth after diving for a single by Gonzalez.
The elite defender has cramps in both calves, manager Matt Williams said after the game.
The Dodgers broke open the game with three runs in the fifth against starter Doug Fister (3-5), who has won only once since May 3. Turner hit an RBI single to make it 1-0 and left fielder Andre Ethier drove in a run with a sacrifice fly. Puig followed with an RBI single to make it 4-0.
The Dodgers took a 1-0 lead in the second on an RBI infield single by Puig. His hit scored Gonzalez, who led off with a single and went to third on a solid single by Ethier.
The Nationals are 4-8 in games started this year by Fister, who was 16-6 with a 2.41 ERA last season for Washington, but now has an ERA of 4.30.
Fister gave up nine hits and four runs in five innings before Taylor Jordan took over in the sixth.
"I felt pretty good stuff-wise," Fister said. "Location wasn't quite there. Wasn't as sharp as I should be. That's inexcusable, but I missed a few locations, more over the plate than I want to be, got behind the hitters and they got in hitters' counts. But that's kind of the way it rolls right now."
The day clearly belonged to Kershaw, even though he didn't get a shot at the 11th shutout and 19th complete game of his career.
"Unfortunately, I've seen that way too much," Williams said. "He's a pretty good pitcher. He establishes strikes and then goes down out of the zone. I don't know how many curveballs he threw today. Probably 15 of them. He may have thrown one for a ball."
NOTES: Washington RHP Max Scherzer (10-7, 2.11 ERA) will face Dodgers RHP Zack Greinke (8-2, 1.39 ERA) in the series finale between All-Star pitchers on Sunday. ... Washington OF Bryce Harper entered Saturday leading MLB in on-base average (.465) and slugging (.701). ... Washington RHP Aaron Barrett is good friends with Preston Mattingly, son of Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. The younger Mattingly and Barrett, who exchanged hugs before Friday's series opener, grew up playing sports together in Evansville, Ind. ... Dodgers 1B Adrian Gonzalez entered Saturday with 295 RBIs since Aug. 25, 2012, the most of any MLB player. ... The Dodgers signed first-round draft pick Walker Buehler of Vanderbilt on Friday. Los Angeles also signed sixth-round pick Edwin Rios and 30th-round selection Logan Crouse.