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Los Angeles Dodgers beat Washington Nationals as Greinke outduels Scherzer

By
David Driver, The Sports Xchange
Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke pitches against the Washington Nationals in the eighth inning at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. on July 19, 2015. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke pitches against the Washington Nationals in the eighth inning at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. on July 19, 2015. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

WASHINGTON -- There was not much that could faze Los Angeles Dodgers right-handed starter Zack Greinke on Sunday. That included the humid summer heat with a game-time temperature of 93, the Nationals hitters and a midgame change of catchers.

Greinke tossed eight shutout innings en route to a 5-0 win in a showdown against the Washington Nationals and fellow Cy Young contender Max Scherzer. The Dodgers took the rubber game of the three-game set between first-place teams.

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Scherzer (10-8) gave up seven hits and one run in six innings while Greinke fanned a season-high 11 batters with three hits and one walk allowed.

"They did a great job against me and battled me," Scherzer said. "I thought I did pitch well, giving up only one run is good, but good is not good enough when you're going up against Greinke and what he's doing right now. He just completely shut us down. He's throwing the ball outstanding. I wasn't able to match him."

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A.J. Ellis had to come in to catch for the Dodgers in the sixth inning after starter Yasmani Grandal was hit in the facemask on a foul ball off the bat of Washington center fielder Michael A. Taylor.

"Thank God the X-rays came back negative," said Grandal, who have more tests on Monday.

"It was pretty easy," Greinke said of the switch of catchers with his team leading, 1-0. "A.J. is well prepared."

There were also challenges for the Nationals.

"The heat index is about 105 today," said Washington manager Matt Williams.

But that didn't slow down Greinke (9-2), who extended his scoreless streak to 43 2/3 innings -- spanning six starts. He lowered his ERA to a league-best 1.30 and did not allow a runner to reach second as he threw 119 pitches.

"I was making some good pitches," said Greinke.

"Tremendous again," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said of his starter. "He was locked in early. When these kinds of guys get together, Max and him, they know they can't give up runs. He had to be sharp and he was."

J.P. Howell pitched the ninth for the Dodgers, who had 15 hits and broke the game open with four runs in the top of the ninth.

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"Just the fight again today," Mattingly said of his hitters. "I thought we did a nice job with Max early. We really couldn't break through until late."

The Dodgers took a 1-0 lead with a run in the fourth. Left fielder Andre Ethier led off with a double, went to third on a sacrifice bunt by Grandal and then scored on a wild pitch by Scherzer.

Ethier had his third hit, an RBI single to center with the bases loaded in the ninth, to make it 2-0.

Reserve catcher Ellis followed with another RBI single off reliever Blake Treinen, and right fielder Yasiel Puig had a two-run single to make it 5-0 after he struck out in his first four at-bats.

"That was nice," Greinke said of the four-run outburst after he left the game.

"I didn't make the pitches when I needed to," Treinen said.

Howie Kendrick, the Dodgers second baseman, had three hits and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez had two. Third baseman Yunel Escobar had two hits for the Nationals.

The Dodgers (53-40) won for the seventh time in 11 games while the Nationals (49-41) dropped to 9-4 against the National League West this year.

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NOTES: RHP Max Scherzer was one of three starters in the weekend series with the Dodgers who has thrown a no-hitter since June 2014. He tossed his no-hitter this past June against the Pittsburgh Pirates, while teammate Jordan Zimmermann did so on Aug. 28, 2014, against the Marlins. Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, who pitched Saturday, threw his no-hitter last year against the Colorado Rockies. ... Washington 2B Danny Espinosa left the game Saturday with cramps in both calves. But he was back in the lineup on Sunday and was hitless in four at-bats. "I feel fine today," he said. ... The Nationals will begin a series at home Monday against the Mets as LHP Gio Gonzalez (6-4, 3.99 ERA) goes for Washington against RHP Matt Harvey (8-6, 3.07 ERA) of New York. ... The Dodgers start a series Monday in Atlanta with RHP Brandon Beachy (0-1, 6.75 ERA) of Los Angeles facing his former team and RHP Matt Wisler (3-1, 3.10 ERA) of the Braves.

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