Los Angeles Dodgers' Justin Turner homers twice to hand Stephen Strasburg first loss

By David Driver, The Sports Xchange
Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg (37). Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg (37). Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

WASHINGTON -- Justin Turner made a concentrated effort late last month to start looking to pull the ball to left field, according to manager Dave Roberts.

The results certainly have been sparkling, as the right-handed Turner has six home runs and 16 RBIs in 16 games this month.


Turner hit homers in his first two trips to the plate off Stephen Strasburg on Thursday for five RBIs as the Los Angeles Dodgers posted a 6-3 win over the Washington Nationals. It was the first loss of the season for Strasburg, who had won his first 13 decisions this year and 16 overall.

"I'm definitely feeling comfortable again," Turner said. "I've felt healthy all year, I don't know what was going on those first two months. ... I feel good, feel comfortable and am obviously getting better results."


Turner, who now has a career-high 17 homers, hit a two-run shot in the first and a three-run blast to left in the third.

"Strasburg is one of the best in the league," Roberts said. "The guys had a great gameplan today. J.T. has been fantastic. He got some pitches up in the zone and elevated. The two-run homer, the three-run homer, that was obviously the difference in the game."

Did Turner have the green light on a 3-0 pitch in the third?

"In that situation I gave him the green light. He has such good feel. Let it fly," Roberts said.

Turner hit cleanup and lifted his average to .267 with 55 RBIs.

"I got to a 3-2 count, and he threw me a cutter," Turner said of the first homer. "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. Second at-bat I got up 3-0, I was just looking for something up in the zone to lift to the outfield. I got a fastball, and I got enough of it."

The Dodgers (54-43), who used eight pitchers, took two of three games in the series and are 5-1 this season against the National League East leaders. Washington (57-39) is 30-18 at home.


Strasburg (13-1) was the first National League starter to begin the season 13-0 since 1912. He had not lost since Sept. 9, 2015, against the New York Mets at home, and in his last four starts had allowed just three earned runs and 11 hits.

"Sometimes you make decent pitches, sometimes you make really bad pitches and they hit it as well. I just tried to battle out there today," Strasburg said. "We'll learn from it, and we'll get back out there and I'll give them a better chance to win next time out."

Strasburg gave up six earned runs and seven hits with one walk and 10 strikeouts in six innings against the Dodgers. Washington was 16-1 in his previous 17 starts this year, and Strasburg's ERA rose from 2.51 to 2.83.

"He settled in," Washington manager Dusty Baker said of Strasburg. "I was more impressed by Strasburg today that he didn't blow up. He kept the game where it was. During that streak, he was fantastic. You knew it was going to end someday. Now you just go back to the drawing board and start a new streak."


Turner hit a two-run homer in the first to give the Dodgers the early advantage.

After an RBI single by Adrian Gonzalez in the third, Turner blasted a 3-0 pitch from Strasburg into the seats in left for a three-run shot and a 6-1 lead.

Bryce Harper put the Nationals on the board with a sacrifice fly in the third. Danny Espinosa had an RBI double in the sixth to make it 6-2, and Daniel Murphy brought Washington within three with an RBI single in the seventh.

The last time Strasburg allowed at least six or more earned runs in a game was May 12, 2015 at Arizona.

The Dodgers starter was rookie Julio Urias, who gave up one run on five hits with no walks and four strikeouts in four innings. He threw 77 pitches as Pedro Baez took over in the fifth.

Louis Coleman came out of the well-used Dodgers bullpen later in the fifth and retired Anthony Rendon on a fly ball with the bases loaded and two outs to end the rally. Kenley Jansen pitched the ninth for his 28th save as he set down the heart of the order after a single by Harper.


Urias, 19, made his big league debut on May 27 at Dodgers Stadium and had not pitched in the majors since July 4 against the Baltimore Orioles.

"I tried to make the best of it," Urias said through a translator. "The changeup was working well today. When you get the opportunity you have to make the best of it."

Adam Liberatore (2-0) was credited with the win as he threw a scoreless eighth. He has not allowed a run in his last 27 outings.

Gonzalez also had two hits for the Dodgers and Howie Kendrick extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a single in the third. Chris Heisey had two hits for the Nationals.

"He has a great feel for his pitches," Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis said of Urias. "He did a great job of mixing" his pitches.

NOTES: Dodgers OF Yasiel Puig, who did not start, came up limping after he grounded out in the seventh. He has right hamstring tightness and was replaced in field in the last of the seventh by Scott Van Slyke. ... The Dodgers called up LHP Julio Urias from Triple-A to start the game Thursday, and also recalled LHP Grant Dayton from Triple-A Oklahoma City. To make room on the roster, the Dodgers sent INF Charlie Culberson and OF Zach Walters to Triple-A. Culberson started at shortstop on Wednesday and Walters made his big league debut with the Nationals in 2013. ... Washington RHP Tanner Roark (9-5, 2.82) will pitch Friday at home against San Diego RHP Luis Perdomo (3-4, 7.36). ... Dodgers RHP Brandon McCarthy (2-0, 1.69) will start Friday in St. Louis against Cardinals RHP Michael Wacha (5-7, 4.45). ... Washington OF Chris Heisey, who started in left for Jayson Werth on Thursday, played in 33 games for the Dodgers last year. ... Washington entered the game with a league-best 132 homers and had gone deep in 10 contests in a row but that streak ended. ... Nationals first-base coach Davey Lopes stole 418 bases while playing with the Dodgers from 1972-81. His teammate from 1976 to 1981 was Baker. ... Dodgers OF Howie Kendrick entered Thursday with a .414 batting average this month, the best in the majors.


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